Of all the sad parts about Greg Oden‘s struggles to get onto the court in the last six years — and there are a ton of them — one of the saddest is that more fans have not gotten the chance to learn more about one of sports’ more unique individuals.
In the run-up to the 2007 draft, when Oden was widely and rightfully expected to be the No. 1 overall pick, the Ohio State center did a series of illuminating interviews. Oden demonstrated a total lack of pretension, a love of matinee movies and an aversion to socks. All anyone knows about him now, of course, is that he has appeared in only 82 games and missed three whole seasons since the Trail Blazers took him first, before Kevin Durant, Al Horford and Joakim Noah.
A lot of those people therefore are surprised that taking Oden to Chili’s would be an effective recruiting strategy for Erik Spoelstra the Miami Heat. Really, they shouldn’t be that surprised.
“He really liked talking with Erik at Chili’s,” Mike Conley Sr., Oden’s agent, told...