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Greg Oden's second life in basketball: The biggest disappointment in NBA history

Greg Oden had never suffered from a knee injury, however, shortly after being drafted first overall that same year ahead of Kevin Durant he was in surgery for a micro-tear in his right knee.

This was the start of an injury-plagued career that prevented the center from fulfilling his potential.

In seven seasons he only amounted 105 games and retired at the age of 28 with an average of 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks.

Now, at 35, after declaring himself "the biggest disappointment in NBA history" and overcoming serious alcoholism problems which he suffered as a player, he is enjoying a second life in basketball.

Oden was a very physical player, known for his mobility and agility despite his 2.13m frame.

The colossus was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2007 draft, the same draft as Rudy Fernandez and Marc Gasol. But, since the start of preseason, nothing went as planned. His rookie year was lost in its entirety due to the micro-break that started it all.

Injured after 13 minutes

When he finally made his NBA debut at the beginning of the 2008-09 season, he only played 13 minutes on the court.

He would go weeks without leaving the house and ended up falling into a vicious cycle of using alcohol and painkillers to suppress the pain. He was unable to sleep without pills.

By the start of the 2009-10 season he was fit enough to return. Those were his best days in the NBA. He had a strong start, featuring in the first 20 games. However, in a tie with the Houston Rockets, he left the court on a stretcher as a result of a clash of knees with Aaron Brooks.

"I felt like a loser. I felt like a failure. I felt like I let a lot of people down. I let down Portland, I let down the entire franchise staff and the organization. I felt like I let down my family and everyone who coached me and believed in me," he said in a report by 'The Ringer'.

Kevin Durant y Greg Oden, números 1 y 2 del draft de 2007, respectivamente.

Kevin Durant y Greg Oden, números 1 y 2 del draft de 2007, respectivamente.

A trip to the operating room

Three more knee surgeries ensued. The first, in November 2010, forced him to miss another whole year which resulted in the Blazers releasing him from their setup.

Through hard work he returned to the NBA through a contract with the Miami Heat of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh signed him to a contract for the 2013-14 campaign. He played 23 games and even played in the Finals, which they lost to the San Antonio Spurs. That was his final NBA involvement.

Retirement in the Chinese League

He played his last games with the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese League.

After playing 25 games there, in October 2016 he announced his retirement at just 28 years old.

Oden is now finishing his first season as Butler University's director of basketball operations after being hired in April of last year. Leading the team is Thad Matta, his former coach at Ohio State.

Since injuries prevented him from succeeding on the court, Oden now wants to try his hand at it from the bench. "It's fun and hard, but I enjoy it. I really think I could do this," he said.

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