Former NBA first overall pick Greg Oden discusses his depression, substance abuse and future.
Greg Oden was suppose to be the next big thing. A 7-footer with an abundance of athleticism, selected the first pick in the 2007 NBA Draft — one spot ahead of Kevin Durant — Oden was set to lead the Portland Trail Blazers back to the promised land. That’s what everyone predicted… except Oden.
In an interview with ESPN The Magazine, Oden goes in-depth about his reluctance to stand out in his youth, his body betraying him in the NBA, his path to redemption and more.
At one point during the interview, Oden refers to himself while working out as “the biggest bust in NBA history”. Not many people would argue with that, but there is a deeper story behind Oden’s failed professional career.
From a childhood growth-spurt that led to Oden’s right leg being shorter than his left, to a dependence on prescription pills and alcohol after his initial injury, Oden reveals more than anyone ever knew about his struggles to live up to outside expectations.
The weight of it all had Oden depressed “I was like, ‘If I don’t wake up, whatever’.” he said.
Now re-enrolled at Ohio State, he’s working toward his degree and engaged to the mother of his 9-month-old daughter.
Really good read, giving a perspective most sorts fans never think about when it comes to the human side of being a draft bust in any sport.