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via Sports Illustrated (Jenkins)
You know what one of the weirdest things about basketball is? More than any other sport, basketball is filled with people who have to learn to love the game. Think about it… how many NFL or MLB or NHL players had to learn to love that sport? If they didn’t love it they would’ve either stopped playing or never played in the first place. Sure, there are guys who fall out of love with it as time goes on. But at some point that spark was there.
But basketball… basketball is a little different. Height matters so much in basketball, that you end up with a lot of really tall kids who play… well simply because they’re tall. And they might not love the sport, but they keep playing because they’re tall. They’re 6’4 in seventh grade and maybe they’re a little self-conscious of their height and they want to do other things but they’re so big and they don’t know any better and maybe they feel a little bit of an obligation so they just keep playing basketball. And they like their teammates and they like the camaraderie and they like the feeling of getting praised for their success and so they keep playing, even if they don’t really have a burning passion for jump hooks or post footwork or help defense. And they work hard and they compete and they care and they improve. And all of a sudden they’re getting scholarship offers because they’re 7’0″ tall and can run and jump and every coach in the country is begging to get them on their team. Yet all this time, they may have never even fallen in love with the game. And sure they’ll make all this money. But I can’t help but feel bad for that guy. He got shoehorned into a career he never wanted and because of that he was never able to fit in. The money is great, sure. But that money can’t buy happiness.
That’s Greg Oden. All Greg Oden wanted to do was be a dentist and live a normal life in Ohio. But Greg Oden was seven feet tall and cared too much about his friends and coaches and providing for his family to ever quit or to not work hard. It took a bevy of injuries and a million surgeries for a shy, nice guy like him to finally be like “I’m sorry guys never wanted to do this. I’m done.” Greg Oden never loved the game – which is totally fine. He was never supposed to be a basketball player. And that’s kind of sad.
Who were we talking ab– oh yeah Dwight. Yeah what’s going on here? He wants to be a donkey farmer? What? Goddammit I hate that guy.
(This is an excerpt from today’s Ham’s Hoops Roundup. Read the whole blog here.)