Now an assistant coach at Ohio State University, where he joined a short season in 2006/2007, Greg Odin has finally found serenity in his life.
The former No. 1 in the 2007 draft had an injury-burdened NBA career marked by more lows than highs. Unfortunately, fitting the unfortunate history of Portland and its fragile hubs, he was never able to find a foothold in the big league, always trying to recover from one injury to the next.
On September 14, 2007, before he could even set foot on the NBA floor, Greg Odin went to the pool table for his first previously benign surgery. But when he woke up, the Ohio State hub learned he wouldn’t be able to play at all during his first season!
“I was 19 years old, I was a beginner. It was very difficult,” Greg Auden explains in the next chapter podcast. “I wondered how I would be able to relate to the reception I had—there was a show for me, the expectations of the city and the franchise, and this injury that hit me and made it unavailable for the rest of the season. I didn’t know what I was going to do. In the end, I rehabilitated while training. I wanted to Working when my colleagues were working. I wanted to be there for the video sessions and try to add more to my understanding of the game. I just wanted to enjoy my life as a young professional athlete.”
As rehabilitation progressed, young Odin gradually changed his tune. Everyone who wanted to be part of the team at all costs began to turn away little by little, asking in particular not to accompany the Blazers on the go.
To take advantage of the ultra-modern equipment of the Portland Training Center on the one hand, but above all to be more free in his movements and to take advantage of the long leisure hours he had once he finished his exercises (in the beginning of the afternoon in general).
“I scheduled sessions with a therapist. But Portland is a small city. At one point, my GM asked me if I had done this, or had been in such-and-such the night before. I couldn’t believe he knew it. I felt watched and after that, I isolated myself further. I also withdrew to myself because I no longer felt confident. As a result, I could no longer talk to anyone, neither with my therapist, nor to the crew members, nor to the preparers. I was 19 and felt alone. In the end, it was just me and a friend, And we were trying to be as careful as possible. It wasn’t really the way to go…”
The Party Boy in Portland
A victim of his poorly directed choices, due to his own lack of experience and expertise, Greg Odin had logically the worst difficulties in understanding the various physical and psychological programs of action that the Blazers had given him.
“On the team there were good veterans but I didn’t go looking for them. There was Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge but they had just been drafted the year before so they were young too. Rehabilitation is a lonely job in the end. It’s not only necessary to work the injured limb, but It is also necessary to continue to strengthen the other parts of the body. Do not disturb the apparatus further. You also have to eat well so as not to overburden yourself and put your weight on the injury.”
The 19-year-old rookie was well surrounded, but the frequent injuries did better than his attempts to stay close to the group. Suddenly, Greg Auden found other ways to gain the appreciation of his peers.
“The way I found to keep in touch with the team was that I became a party specialist. I knew all the clubs in Portland, where to go and what night. I organized my share of parties too. I was the nice guy who treated his mates really well. I bonded with them when I wasn’t I play. But when I was playing, I kept doing that too. I had this relationship with them, that of a good party animal.”
In hindsight, Greg Auden knows his decisions weren’t the best.
“Looking back, I think with more guidance around me and without this injury, I probably wouldn’t have been the party animal on the team. Anyway, I wouldn’t have invested as much energy in it as I did at the time. Because I’d have better spent Twice the time in the room to talk to myself and avoid hurting myself. Don’t drink too much alcohol because alcohol destroys the body. For a better diet too.”
Frequent injuries and addiction
Naive but increasingly frightened, Greg Auden added an explosive mix of drugs, painkillers and alcohol as he moved back and forth between the infirmary, operating rooms, training center…and nightclubs! He already had both feet in gears.
“I had to go out and get drunk. I was taking two Vicodin [un analgésique très puissant]. At 2:00 PM I had to take either Advil or Tylenol along with two Benadryl, and washed it all down with alcohol to get 4 hours of sleep each night at best. It lasted six months. And I was asleep at the time. It was during my third season, when the operations were tied one after the other. I had plenty of pills to take every day during this time. And then it became an addiction…and there was an incident of domestic violence when I was in Miami in 2013/2014. I couldn’t even recognize myself anymore. I went to rehab and was on probation for three years. This situation was very difficult. I knew I had to tell my daughter this at some point and couldn’t see myself for a while in the mirror. it was not me ! All that alcohol, this drugs, my behavior, it wasn’t really the way to go. »
Cut by the Heat at the end of the 2014 season, which ended in the famous disappointment in the final against Tottenham, Greg Odin hit rock bottom. From No. 1 in the draft to technical unemployment, the drop was steep!
“I found myself alone in Indiana. I feel like I’ve let everyone down, my family, and myself. After the circumcision, I got really depressed! Previously #1 in the draft, I really thought I was a loser! I changed my phone number and cleaned up around me. I stayed two weeks at home without even Going shopping because I had the impression that everyone was laughing at me. I bought a house in the woods to isolate myself…”
Constantly torn between trust and distrust
A gentle giant in many ways, Greg Oden has become a different man after many of his adventures in the pro world. Torn between the many conflicting opinions of other fairly reputable doctors and surgeons, he has struggled with many decisions that directly concern him.
“In sixth grade I broke my hip because I was growing too fast. My legs were separating from my hips. Since then I’ve had two screws in my hip. I had two surgeries on the sixth and the fifth actually, and the other was on the left wrist. There was a difference in size between my legs, So I’ve always been a little lame after this surgery on my right thigh. In Ohio, they left me like this because my body got used to that arrangement. But in Portland, they wanted to rearrange that and gave me orthopedic shoes – which I still have – and one sole much larger than the other. And when I twisted my ankle against the Lakers, it was actually because of it! By changing my position, the pressure was applied differently and my body tried to compensate. It was my knee that paid the price when I completely broke my knee!”
How do you maintain trust in the medical team after such an incident? How can a teenager without scientific knowledge be able to decipher all the statements that are thrown at him on an almost daily basis? Not to mention the ordeal he experienced on social networks, and in the NBA world in general.
End of the road in South Beach
In Miami, and even Portland before, Greg Auden knows he could have been more open to the advice of veterans, staff and teammates in general. But again, he was living in a negative “bubble”, and at this point he was just trying not to be the laughing stock of the world!
“When I got to Miami, I forbade myself from going out to eat more than once a week. The Heat had just won two titles and I didn’t want to go in and spoil everything. Almost never went out. I never went to South Beach because I didn’t want to be that man anymore. [le fêtard]. I had great teammates, great coaches, and a great privilege. I was living with my ex at the time and we talked quite a bit because I was always leaving. I have fun with many women every week and I had this other woman living with me. I had Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Bron, De-Wade, Chris Bosh… I had all these people who could have listened and advised me but I never opened my mouth. My idea was that I was going to be part of this hero team, I was going to get my hero ring especially for my middle finger and I would be able to shut the mouths of all my critics. I just wanted to ride the wave. And honestly, I wasn’t doing my best on the pitch either because I didn’t want to hurt myself again. I didn’t want to do extra training or anything because I was told I could only play for those many minutes. And after that, I was still very immature. I didn’t drink for six days but on the seventh day I allowed myself to drink and drank all day. I wanted to eat poorly, I would eat poorly! I got over things and managed to hide everything so well. »
Finally, the click came when Greg Auden learned that his new girlfriend was pregnant. After returning from China, but still under threat of imprisonment for the slightest behavior, the Axis was able to restore order in his life.
“I went to rehab and continued training. At the time, I was still wondering if I wanted to continue playing basketball. Then I went to China, it was a really different experience. To discover Chinese culture. Folk trips where I was cramped beside my bus and another hub on the The same row of seats on the plane [rires]. But returning was also difficult because I was still under judicial supervision (after being convicted of domestic violence). Above all, I didn’t want to get in trouble and end up in jail. I just spent a day there, less than 24 hours in fact, and definitely didn’t want to go back! My girlfriend was pregnant with a little girl and that made me realize I had to settle down. And also accept the mistakes you’ve made. She would have heard a lot about me, but I wanted to show her another example. »
After returning to school in 2016, to complete his studies in sports economics and also to become an assistant coach for the Buckeyes, Greg Oden gradually regained his balance. The simple pleasure of living.