Could Greg Oden have been like Shaq

,, He could have become Shaquille O'Neal 2.0 ''

In this blog series I will list players who, either through injuries or simply through aging, have never been able to play or physically reach the level that made them All Stars or Superstars. I will try to introduce a player every week. Today is Greg Oden's turn.

“It will be one of the best centers. Seriously, it reminds me a lot of my time. He is dynamic, athletic, dominant and above all very agile. This guy will one day be one of the best at 5th What a talent ''. These words are from Shaquille ONeal himself. The expectations of Greg Oden were enormous. Comparisons with Shaquille ONeal increased more and more often. Thad Matta, his coach at the college at the time, raved about his pupil. “He's quite athletic for a 7 footer. He not only has defensive skills, but also offensive skills. It will be a really big one. His physique is impressive ''. There was a real tug-of-war between Kevin Durant and Greg Oden as to who would be the first pick. The Portland Trail Blazers got the first overall pick and chose Greg Oden. US commentator Steve Kerr from TNT said that Greg Oden was one of those players who would only be around once in a decade. Given his dominance in college, that statement wasn't even wrong. At that time only a few people knew that Greg Oden had health problems. Back then, the Trail Blazers weren't aware of the high risk they were taking with Oden. They were too impressed with the Aldridge-Oden-Roy trio. A new era was dawning in Oregon.

Before his rookie season started, Greg Oden had knee surgery. The whole season fell away. Oden worked hard on his comeback. The 2.13 giant spent hours in the fitness center to strengthen his knees and muscles all around. The knee should always cause him problems. When he fully recovered from the operation, it was just a season before Oden was injured again. After trying to block a throw, Oden landed on his left knee so badly that he promptly broke his kneecap. The season was choppy and once again Oden had to endure arduous physical therapy. Oden worked hard on his comeback. “I know that I can and will play. Things like that happen. I wouldn't see the whole thing too negatively. I will do it''. Greg Oden was about to make his comeback before he had another operation on his left knee and was thus out for a whole season. The left knee was straightened again. This time the right knee caused problems and had to be operated on. Oden had to skip his second full season. “It's tough, it's really tough. All I can do is try to get fit again and play basketball ''. The Trail Blazers fired the center in spring 2012. The trio around Roy-Aldrigde and Oden failed miserably.

Oden barely coped with the dismissal. During this time, Oden became an alcoholic. “I didn't have any friends. I had money, a lot of money. I had a reputation and everything you can imagine. I had a lot of women. But I didn't have any friends who stood by me. My best friend was the alcohol. I looked for every way out and every excuse in alcohol. The entire environment was not managed professionally. Nobody asked about me, nobody cared about me ''. Greg Oden spent a few more months in Oregon and later returned to Ohio. While the sporting world almost made Oden forget, there was one man who still believed in Greg Oden. ,, Thad (Matta) called me and asked me how I am? I told him I was fine. He knew I was lying and I knew he wouldn't buy it from me. So we met and I could talk to him for hours. It felt really good. He was the reason I took on all the tedious work and started working again ''. It took Greg Oden almost a year and a half to feel ready. “His movements look really good. Hookshots, dunks, layups and spin moves. He can really do everything as he used to, '' said a friend at the time. And Greg Oden worked harder than ever. "My knees are fine, I have now had 2 hours of continuous exercise and they are not swollen".

But the knees are not the cause of the problem. The problem is his right leg. This is a whole 3 cm longer than the left leg. The strain on the knees is immense. The left knee has to withstand 3/4 of the weight. This shift happens unconsciously. The body automatically looks for support when it notices that something is wrong. A concrete example: You sprain your left ankle. The right ankle is more stressed because the body knows that the left ankle is injured. Even after healing, the distribution of the burden is not complete. It usually takes 1-2 months after recovery for the body to become stable again. In the case of Oden, however, this is not possible. Oden can only strengthen the muscles in the left leg in order to maintain something like balance.

In the summer of 2013, Greg Oden signed a deal with the Miami Heat to fix the massive problem on 5. Greg Oden is just an RPG now. He's perfect for a few important minutes, his knees won't allow it any longer. ,, I feel great. I've now done a full 5v5 workout and my knees are not swollen. I will go ahead and do my best. G.O is back again, '' said Oden confidently. Lebron James was also positive. “Man he is exactly what we need. He gives us length that we urgently lacked. His game is so light-footed and I'm sure he can help us. G.O looks really good ''. Erik Spoelstra will give Oden match practice and possibly also increase the game minutes. After years of ordeal, Oden seems relaxed and healthy. Whether and how long he will play depends on his knees. Oden's commitment should only serve one thing: to defuse Hibbert and rob him of his nerve, should there be a new edition of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. We can be curious.