Mark Titus of ESPN Grantland interviews Greg Oden
“You’re a fun-loving guy with a ton of personality,” I said. “So why do you hate it so much when people approach you in public? Why don’t you let your personality shine through and smile when you take pictures with fans?”
“Because I don’t understand why they are so excited to meet me,” Greg responded. “I’m just a person. I guess I didn’t really mind it when I was at Ohio State and even right after I was drafted, but it just seems so fake now. Like, why are you bothering me at dinner for a picture when I’m nothing now?”
Regrets and nonchalant reaction on MF
As the start of the 2010-11 season approached, he believed he was making strides with his rehab but didn’t think his body was ready to practice at full speed. Feeling guilty about missing so much of those first three years, he returned to practice against his better judgment. In hindsight, Greg said he regrets that decision as much as those cell phone pictures, because rushing back to practice played a big part in him needing anothermicrofracture surgery, this time on the same knee he had been rehabbing because of the broken knee cap.
Although Greg never took my bait and blamed the Blazers for his premature return, it’s impossible not to wonder if Portland’s medical staff contributed to any of the problems Greg endured during his injury-plagued career. This isn’t to say Greg never would’ve gotten hurt had he played somewhere else, but Portland’s medical staff has long beenrumored to be less than stellar.4 At any rate, nobody can deny that Greg genuinely felt pressured — either by the Blazers, their doctors, his own guilt, or all three — to return to the court before his body was ready. That’s why he claims he wasn’t surprised that he needed a second microfracture surgery. That’s why he responded to the news by shrugging his shoulders and saying “OK” as if he had just been told by a McDonald’s employee that the McFlurry machine wasn’t working.
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