Greg Oden, back at Ohio State, says his basketball career is over
Greg Oden will go down as one of the biggest No. 1 pick busts in NBA draft history. But while life may not be fair, there's always hope. Oden recently returned to where his star shined brightest, if ever so briefly - Ohio State University - as a 28-year-old sophomore enrolled in the sports industry program.
Oden is also helping out Buckeyes coach Thad Matta this season as a student assistant. That's as far as he's going with basketball.
"It's over," Oden told the Indianapolis Star's Dana Hunsinger Benbow on whether he as any desire to pursue a playing career again. "I wanted to stay around basketball and coach gave me a lifeline to be here, to give me something to do with my afternoons."
His story remains a cautionary tale. The Portland Trail Blazers - the same franchise that selected Sam Bowie ahead of Michael Jordan in 1984 - took Oden first, ahead of Kevin Durant in 2007. After knee injuries cost him 82 games across two seasons, Oden was out of the NBA until a brief return with the Miami Heat in 2013-14. He played in China last season, but was released by his team in January.
Off-court incidents, including a bizarre leak of naked photos, and far more seriously, alcohol abuse and a battery charge, also followed the 7-foot Indianapolis native. Oden said he's moved on to a different path, and is advising current Buckeyes players on the pitfalls of NBA life.
"I have talked to them about the situation and going to the pros and what's expected," he said.
"I'm still trying to figure out my life. Since I've been in fourth grade, all I've known was basketball. I'm just trying to better myself and work on my degree and set something up for the future of my family."