In 2006, Greg Oden was a 7-foot, 280-pound freshman who played center at Ohio State. The hulking underclassmen was merely 18, but could undeniably pass for 40. He put the man in "he's a man among boys" out there.
Oden's look was seasoned, and his game was imposing. As arguably the best player in college basketball at the time, he had the makings of a dominant NBA player. It's a future that had been swirling in his crystal ball since his early high school days.
The Buckeye center appeared to be headed that direction when he was selected as the first-overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. What should've been merely the beginning became the highlight of his professional career.
After six seasons, Oden called it quits following a long string of injuries.
He's a new man now, on a path but unsure of where it's headed. Wherever that path leads, his NBA earnings are enough to finance his journey.
Oden's Early Life and High School Career Sets the Stage
Gregory Wayne Oden Jr. was born on January 22, 1988 in Buffalo, New York. At 9, his family moved to Terre Haute, Indiana. He later moved to the heart of basketball's heartland with his mother and brother to Indianapolis.
Oden attended Lawrence North High School and blossomed into a star. He led the Wildcats to three-straight state championships by the time he graduated in 2006. Multiple recruiting outlets ranked him as the undisputed No. 1 recruit in the country.
By the conclusion of his prep career, he gathered a plethora of awards:
-- Mr. Basketball USA (2006)
-- Naismith Prep Player of the Year (2006)
-- 2x Gatorade National Player of the Year (2005, 2006)
-- McDonald's All-American (2006)
-- 2x First-team Parade All American (2005, 2006)
-- Third-team Parade All-American (2004)
-- Indiana Mr. Basketball (2006)
Oden and Lawrence North teammate Mike Conley, Jr., committed to play for head coach Thad Matta at Ohio State University.
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Oden was heralded for his rare talent throughout the college basketball world, similar to how the world fawned over Hakeem Olajuwon decades before. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr referred to him as a "once-in-a decade player," the same thing would later be said about New Orleans Pelicans No. 1 pick, Zion Williamson, who was sidelined for a chunk of his first year in the NBA with a foot injury.
Oden averaged 15.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game over 32 games. His presence was invaluable in supplying rim protection and deterring drivers from the paint.
The big man led the Buckeyes to a 35-4 (15-1 Big Ten) record, winning the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships. OSU earned a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament and won five-in-a-row to reach the National Championship game against the Florida Gators. Oden scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, but it wasn't enough.
The defending champs -- anchored by Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Lee Humphrey, Al Horford and Taurean Green -- won the title 84-75.
Oden piled up more honors in his lone college season:
-- AP First-Team All-American (2007)
-- NABC Defensive Player of the Year (2007)
-- Pete Newell Big Man Award (2007)
-- First-team All-Big Ten (2007)
As the top overall pick, Oden was selected ahead of Texas superstar Kevin Durant. Prior to the season, he suffered right knee injury and required microfracture surgery. This caused Oden to miss the entirety of his rookie season.
He returned the next year and made his season debut against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. In thirteen minutes, Oden went scoreless and hurt his foot. The injuries began to stack up one after another. He suffered a chipped kneecap, a fractured patella, and underwent another microfracture surgery -- this time on his left knee -- to cut three of his first four NBA seasons short by the first month. The Blazers waived him in March 2012, officially ending the Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers era. He missed the entire season in 2012-13 to focus on rehabbing from injuries.
Oden signed with the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh-led Miami Heat in 2013. He only saw action in 23 games, including three short-spurt appearances in the 2014 playoffs. Oden was able to contribute to ESPN's favorite NBA team not with assists or steals, but with solid play off the bench. No one was expecting him to play like Russell Westbrook or James Harden.
The professional basketball player had trouble finding suitors after all of his knee surgeries and was eager to make a comeback in 2015. He held workouts with the Memphis Grizzlies, Charlotte Hornets, and Dallas Mavericks, but nothing a trip to Tennessee or Texas never materialized. Over the course of six seasons, Oden played a total of 105 NBA games.
He signed a one-year, $1.2 million deal with the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association in 2015. He averaged 13 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 25 games.
Per Spotrac, Oden earned $24 million over the course of his NBA career.
Oden struggled with alcohol, depression and personal troubles after his basketball career was over. In August 2014, he was charged with battery for punching an ex-girlfriend in the face in Lawrence, Indiana. He pleaded guilty. The court put Oden on probation and ordered him to pay a fine and attend counseling.
The former No. 1 draft pick began to turn his life around in 2016, when he returned to Ohio State to finish his degree and took on a student manager role for the basketball team. He welcomed a daughter with fiancée Sabrina Williams in 2016. The couple married in September 2017 in Maui, Hawaii. He earned his degree in sports industry in 2019.
In 2019, he was selected 7th overall in the Big3 draft, which is a 3-on-3 professional basketball league. As of the 2021 season, he was the team captain for the Aliens. That's cool and all, but how much is Greg Oden's net worth?
Greg Oden Net Worth
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Greg Oden's estimated net worth is $16 million. The once dominant center was projected to be the next force in the NBA, but couldn't shake the injury big. Instead, he's regarded as one of the biggest busts in NBA history. But in recent years, Oden has turned back to the game that made him famous, helping young players and potential rookie of the year candidates as Butler University's Director of Basketball Operations.
He's come to terms with his past, had his ups and downs, and is heading down a new road with plenty of cash to start fresh.
This post was originally published on September 26, 2020.
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