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It has been three seasons since Greg Oden played in an NBA game, when he spent most of the 2013-2014 season sitting on the bench for the Miami Heat. Now, two years later, Oden has acknowledged that his career is over, doing so with a depressing quote.
In an interview with Dana Hunsinger Benbow of the Indianapolis Star, Oden was asked whether he would play basketball again.
“I wish,” Oden told the Star. “It’s over.”
That is a sad way for a player to announce his retirement, especially for a player who many predicted would have a Hall of Fame career.
Oden, who should be in the prime of his NBA career, is instead back taking classes at Ohio State University – he is a sophomore majoring in sports industry – and assisting men’s basketball coach Thad Matta as a student coach.
“I wouldn’t say I regret anything,” Oden said. “I would say I just wish I did things better … 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.”
Oden came out of high school touted as the greatest big-man prospect in a generation. He won three state championships in high school in basketball-mad Indiana.
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In 2006, when the NBA changed its draft-eligibility rules, Oden became the first top prospect forced to attend college for one year. Oden chose Ohio State and led the Buckeyes to the Final Four, where they lost to Florida in the championship game, despite Oden’s 25 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks.
Oden left Ohio State in 2007 and entered the NBA draft. He was taken No. 1 overall by the Portland Trail Blazers, one pick ahead of Kevin Durant.
Oden missed his entire rookie season because of a knee injury, however, and he played in just 82 games over five seasons before the Trail Blazers released him.
He signed with the Heat for the 2013-2014 season as they were looking for extra size in the playoffs. He spent most of the season sitting on the bench in street clothes, playing just 212 minutes total in 23 games. But Oden barely played in the playoffs that season – seven minutes total in three games with no points – and he never played again in the NBA.