Greg Oden will tell you he’s the biggest bust in NBA history, going No. 1 overall to Portland in 2007 ahead of Kevin Durant, before a multitude of injuries derailed his career and saw him out of the league by 2014. Oden has since faded from the public eye, which is his preference, and returned to Ohio State to finish his degree and work as a student assistant with the basketball team.
In a profile of the former Buckeyes star, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham followed Oden for some time back at Ohio State, discussing life and basketball and how he found rock bottom in both before returning to Ohio State. The feature details Oden’s long battle with alcohol and painkiller addiction, noting he used to take a combination of painkillers and sleeping pills at night and drink until he fell asleep, and how that led to his domestic violence arrest in 2014 for hitting his then girlfriend.
Oden’s injuries and his overwhelming feeling of failure as he was unable to regain his physical form drove him to those dark places. Because his injuries were the starting point for his problems, Oden has thought a lot about what went wrong and why, after a healthy career through college, he suddenly fell apart, and he has a theory that orthotic inserts given to him by the Blazers played a key role in his injuries.