Former Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden opened up in a very revealing Q&A with childhood friend and former AAU teammate Mark Titus on Grantland.com. In the interview, Oden talked about his injury-plagued career in Portland, his (over) indulgence in alcohol during his second season, and what lies ahead. Chad talks with Titus about his direct insight and experience with Oden.
If you haven't read the article by Mark Titus on Greg Oden, start here
There was a time when Greg Oden was looked at for greatness rather than as a cautionary tale.
The first pick by Portland in the 2007 NBA draft, Oden has played in just 82 games due to injuries.
The Trail Blazers released him and he'll be rehabbing his knee for the next year.
Oden talked to former Ohio State teammate Mark Titus, now a columnist for Grantland.com.
Oden revealed that when his cousin came to live with him, his lifestyle spiraled down.
"If you know anything about guys in the Air Force," Oden said, "it's that they drink a ton. My cousin got wrapped up in the NBA lifestyle and threw parties at my house all the time. So I got wrapped up in it too. When I played well, I'd drink to celebrate. And when I played poorly, I'd drink to forget. That second year in Portland I pretty much became an alcoholic."
Which may have not been Oden's lowest point. That came when nude photos of him were leaked on the internet. Oden remained in his house for three days.
"I wish it wouldn't have happened," he said. "But I'm not going to apologize for it. After all, I'm human and there are worse things that 21-year-olds could do. I just got caught up with women throwing themselves at me. When a girl sends me 100 pictures, I have to send something back every now and then. I'm not an (expletive)."
Oden says he plans to sit out next season and try to return in the 2013-14 season at full health.
"I don't care about what all of these injuries mean for any legacy I might have," he said. "I just want to play basketball. I could've signed with a team after Portland cut me and just sat on the bench and collected paychecks, but that's not my style. That just seems really unethical. Besides, money doesn't matter to me. I've got enough money. All I want is to get 100% healthy and get back on the court."
Be sure to check out Mark's website