By Aaron Collier
2005 Parade High School Co-Player of the Year
2005 National Boys Basketball Player of the Year
2006 Gatorade National Basketball Player of the Year
2007 Final Four
2007 NCAA Runner-Up (25 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks in that loss)
2007 Associated Press First Team All-American
#1 Overall Pick in the 2007 NBA Draft
But what if I told you that also on that list was a single dunk that just occurred last night. That the player that owns that impressive list of accolades would move an action that he has done numerous times during his career in the company of what others would deem as more impressive.
Greg Oden might have done just that last night and no one should question why.
A giant of a man that has played 82 games from 2007 to 2012 and haven’t seen the hardwood since 2009. Some would consider him a bust, but this writer just considers him a magnet for bad luck. It doesn’t help the guy taken at #2 in the 2007 NBA Draft is tearing it up on the Oklahoma plains and goes by the name of Kevin Durant. It’s only fair that people would throw the term around due to Durant building a tremendous career and chasing championships, while you have micro-fracture surgery on your knee every other year since you have been in the league.
You may be able to call him a victim of circumstance, but a “bust” is a bit unfair.
Last night, Greg Oden suited up with the Miami Heat against the Washington Wizards. The game itself was uneventful with Washington running away from the star-studded, back-to-back NBA Champions, but the story was Oden checking into the game late in the first half in his first meaningful game in five years.
An offensive rebound and an emphatic dunk later, on his first offensive possession to top it off, and Greg Oden had a new achievement to add to his career. That achievement was making it back to the floor and, just for a moment, reminded everyone what he is capable of doing when he is on it. He gave a glimmer of what he can do with a basketball in his hands if he can stay on the floor.
But the question of “Can he stay on the court?” isn’t one we can answer right now.
What we should say is: Welcome Back, Mr. Oden. It’s good to see you, big guy.