As I sat clamored around my tv and computer on Friday night waiting for the decision of Greg Oden, I was tempted to read the latest tweets regarding arguably the most talented Indiana High School Athlete of my generation.
BREAKING: Greg Oden tore his ACL signing his contract with the #HEAT
— NOT SportsCenter NBA (@TheNBAonNOTSC) August 3, 2013
i hope greg oden blows out his other knee now. hes just trying to get that ring that the heat are going to buy again this year.
— S™ (@Sean_McFunn) August 3, 2013
Greg Oden decided on the Heat. Smh. Typical idiot
— the last Libmar (@thelibmar) August 3, 2013
My stomach churned. Not because social media can be a dark and desolate world. That’s been the norm for years.
No. What makes me sick is that Greg Oden doesn’t deserve this.
Greg Oden never did anything bad to anyone. He’s always been a humble athlete, fortunate to have been able to realize his dream of being a No. 1 overall pick in the NBA.
What crime has he committed?
On the contrary, the real question should be what wronged Greg Oden?
The unfortunate injuries that he has suffered over the years have tarnished the legacy of the No. 1 Pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.
This is a man compared to Lew Alcindor entering draft day.
A man drafted BEFORE the great Kevin Durant.
A man who is now the butt of every joke regarding NBA injuries, playing with his father — in the jokes they say LeBron is his father — in Miami, and most recently, as seen in the tweet above, that he was injured while signing his new contract.
That is what the name Greg Oden means in households across the country.
And it is a travesty that this is what his legacy has become.
To fully understand what Oden has gone through and what signing with an NBA Team means to him, check out Mark Titus’ story on Grantland here. Titus, a teammate with Oden during the Ohio State years, has followed his career all the way to present day and sheds true light on what the newest member of the Miami Heat has endured.
Fortunately, there is still hope.
A clear way for Greg Oden to rewrite and salvage his legacy:
Win a championship with the Miami Heat.
The fact that a championship is possible, along with Miami promising him he won’t be rushed to play earlier on in the season, were a few of the driving factors for Oden in his decision.
But the most important factor?
Miami believes in Greg Oden.
A team coming off back-to-back NBA Titles, pursuits Greg Oden like a top college pursuits a 5-star recruit because they believe he can still be something special.
Isn’t that what we all need?
Somebody to believe in us.
Somebody to give us a fresh start, a new chapter in the book of our legacies, a final shot at redemption.
If he can stay healthy and be half of the Greg Oden we all fell in love with in the mid-2000’s, then he will have accomplished all that and more.
All Oden will be asked of is to utilize his God-Given Talent in three areas and three areas alone:
Attack the glass for rebounds, swat anything that comes into his domain, and attack the rim when needed.
Anything else will be a luxury.
In sports, we always talk about how the best moments are the championships or the unforgettable games. And that’s true.
But what steals the hearts of America and etches one’s name into history in the process is a comeback story.
A story like this one.
So hate the Heat if you wish.
Talk about how they buy championships and are the Yankees of basketball — even though Pat Riley is just a mad genius and the Lakers or Celtics are historically the Yankees of the league — or say that the league is fixed and they can’t lose(clearly you missed the 2011 NBA Finals).
You just can’t hate Greg Oden.
Everything he has worked to overcome and endure, reaches it’s pinnacle this season.
Few deserve this as much as he does.
I believe in Greg Oden.
Apparently, there are still people who do to.
I hope Greg Oden proves people that he isn’t a bust, and that he can make some things happen!
— Isaiah Rogers (@mrprincerogers) August 3, 2013
In Miami the Heat start the fire, and as Bane always said in The Dark Knight Rises, “The Fire Rises”.
It’s time for Greg Oden to rise.
Let the Games Begin.