Oden and his Knee Sign with the Heat; Good for Miami - Great for Oden

www.complex.com

www.complex.com

Greg Oden’s journey to the NBA has been rare, but not unseen before. His name reminds us of other tales in our basketball memories. Tales that we know and understand. Tales we empathize with. Tales that we all hope end with redemption.

Who can forget the great Bill Walton coming up lame so early in his career and shattering what should have been an incredible NBA tenure? There was Sam Bowie, who also should have been a high level player in the league, whose leg injuries robbed him of greatness (side note for Bowie, not only was he robbed of a promising career, he got the stain of being picked before the greatest player ever to play in the NBA in Michael Jordan. Unlucky is an understatement.)

www.spurstalk.com

www.spurstalk.com

Only in real life can history repeat itself so clearly and so vividly. Oden, Walton, and Bowie were all players drafted by the Portland Trailblazers. All were top players in college and were expected to make a gigantic impact when they entered the league. Walton won an NBA title in his first year with Portland, then his legs left him. Bowie struggled almost out the gate, similarly to Walton, with his legs in seemingly constant suffering. Portland, looking snake-bit, again would make a tough draft choice with Oden in 2007.

Oden entered the league with Kevin Durant and both were supposed to be franchise-changing players. Durant took off and is now a star. Oden’s knee, on the other hand, suffered major injuries, and he has been out of basketball since 2009. Portland ended up letting Oden go, and after some surgeries he has been rehabbing and working out to give his NBA dream one last go. Miami will give him that chance.

sportsbycolin.com

sportsbycolin.com

What does Oden have left in the tank? It doesn’t really matter. He’s now on a team that has two consecutive NBA championships, two of the top players in the NBA (Lebron James and Dwayne Wade), and the top shooter in NBA history in Ray Allen. He’ll work hand-in-hand with fellow bigs Chris Bosh, Chris “the birdman” Anderson and Udonis Haslem to provide some rebounding, some scoring, and some fouls. Chances are he’ll win an NBA title with this group. And why not?

At some point we all get betrayed by our bodies — whether due to old age, athletic injury or sickness. The trick is to keep battling and make the best of what has happened. Bill Walton could have given up playing basketball after all the injuries, but instead he was traded to the Celtics in 1985 and became a part of one of the greatest teams ever assembled. Oden is doing the same. He’s joining a supremely talented team and hopefully getting his shot.

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