It’s been 1,418 days since Greg Oden played in the NBA. That specific date was December 5th of 2009. Iverson was retired. Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton were still in the league. Jordan wasn’t involved with the Bobcats yet. LeBron, in Cleveland, was about to become the youngest player to score 14k career points. Chris Bosh was about to pass Vince Carter as the Raptors all-time scorer. Dwyane Wade was about to pass Tim Hardaway for most franchise assists with Miami. Kevin Durant, at the age of 21, was about to become the youngest player to ever lead the league in scoring.
After reading about those moments, that 2009 date just felt a lot longer than it actually was but that was the last time 25 year old Greg Oden scored a point in the league. This past summer, Greg took his talents, 9 points and 7 rebounds average and what’s left of his knees to South Beach and last night midway through the 2nd quarter against the Pelicans, Oden checked into the game and started his Heat career with a power dunk that the Heat bench celebrating and LeBron feeling good.
“It was a very special moment,” LeBron said. “I have no idea what my feeling would be like, being away from the game for three years. It was like a proud moment, man. I was so excited for him when he got on the court and he checked in — and his first basket he gets a dunk. Can you write it any better? Obviously he’s not where he wants to be, but the process is going great.
“I can just imagine how excited he was to get back out there. I’m going to have to take a toast for him, man. I ain’t no drinker, but I might have to take a shot for him. It was an absolutely great moment.”
Oden finished the game with 2 points 2 rebounds 2 fouls 2 missed free throws and 2 turnovers in 4 minutes.
“It’s been a long time,” Oden said. “It’s been a long road for me, just to get that off my back, my first step tonight. I’m happy I’m able to walk off this court and I’m able to play another day.”
“In December it would be four years, so four minutes, that’s enough for me,” Oden said. “As long as I got out there and I walked off and I’m healthy, that’s all that matters.
“I know the guys were happy for me. I definitely felt love. And I’m excited that they were there for me.”