It's hard to believe Greg Oden is just 27 years old after all he has gone through in his NBA career. Plus, he looks a lot older than he is.
Gregory Wayne "Greg" Oden, Jr. was born January 22, 1988 in Buffalo, New York, and moved with his family to Terre Haute, Indiana at the age of nine.
Oden would attend high school in Indianapolis at Lawrence North High School, where he would lead the school to three consecutive Class 4A state basketball championships. Oden was a legend in high school. Rivals.com had Oden ranked as the No. 1 player in the nation. Watch his highlights and you'll understand why.
Oden and high school teammate Mike Conley Jr. both committed to Ohio State and helped it become ranked as high as No. 1 overall. Once Oden came back from wrist surgery, he was dominant. He helped lead the Buckeyes to the national championship game, where he likely cemented himself as the No. 1 overall draft pick. Oden scored 25 points, and had 12 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in a losing effort against Joakim Noah and the Florida Gators. In his college career Oden averaged 15.7 points per game, 9.8 rebounds and 3.3 blocks.
With the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers selected Oden over Kevin Durant. No one saw what was coming next: Oden had microfracture surgery on his ailing right knee and had to miss the entire season.
Once he returned and could stay on the court, he experienced some success, once grabbing 20 rebounds in a game. But Oden just couldn't stay healthy and his career could never blossom. On December 5, 2009, Oden injured his left knee in the first quarter of a game and had to be stretchered off the court. He underwent surgery for a fractured left patella and missed the rest of the season. Then it was announced in November of 2010, that Oden would have microfracture surgery on his left knee, ending his 2010–2011 season. Oden would never set foot on the court for the Blazers again. After setbacks and a third microfracture surgery, the team waived him in 2012.
Oden would manage to miraculously make it back to the NBA when the Miami Heat signed him last year as a back up. He would make it through the season without injury. Oden has played in just 66 regular season games since being drafted in 2007, and has averaged 8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. He never has had a chance to live up to his potential. But when he was healthy, Oden was "a once in a decade player", as now Warriors head coach said years ago.
Here's to you staying healthy and a happy birthday, Greg Oden.