At age 21, Greg Oden was the kind of big man NBA teams are clamoring four now — a beast on the boards and protecting the rim who also could get you a fair amount of points.
At age 25, he has barely set foot on the court since then. He’s had three microfacture and seven knee surgeries overall.
All the Miami Heat are hoping for is a shadow of that former player, a guy who can give them 15 minutes a night by the end of the season and some run in the playoffs when they run into teams with big front lines (potentially Brooklyn and Indiana, for example).
“Really, for me, I’m happy being on the court and playing and getting back into the thick of basketball,” he said at a promotional appearance at the offices of Shelling Orthodontics and Maye Pediatric Dentistry, an event which also served as a fundraiser for the Udonis HaslemChildren’s Foundation.
“I bang a little bit, still taking it slow. I’m taking steps. So I do a little bit, do a little bit of up and down, but we’re not trying to wear out the knee. We’re trying to make sure I can do a little bit and the next day I can do something, too.”
The Heat and their fans get it — it isn’t about November. Miami’s talent level is going to win then a whole lot of games and get them a high seed (teams just can’t really prepare for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in the regular season).
If we get closer to the All-Star Game and there is no Oden, then it’s a concern. Miami could really use him in the playoffs (when teams do have time to really prepare for the Heat).
“I was there, when he had The Decision,” Mitchell explained. “So that would probably be the biggest one.”
Like, there there?
“It was in Greenwich, Conn., and I went to school in Greenwich [at Greenwich Country Day School],” he said. “So, as a big LeBron fan in the sixth grade, I forced my mom to let me go. I wanted him to go to Miami. I wanted him to get his first ring.”
Young Donovan was glad to see one of his favorite players chart a course for a more successful future. Not everybody at the Greenwich Boys & Girls Club shared his enthusiasm.
“The people there who were Knicks fans … they weren’t too happy about it,” Mitchell said. “I almost got hit in the head with a Snapple bottle because they were just throwing stuff around outside. It was cool. I was just celebrating, so it was pretty cool.”
What a cool bit of happenstance.
Damian Lillard’s goal in meeting with Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen: ‘Spark that urgency’
Lillard, in an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN:
It was just me showing urgency, spark that urgency, figure out, “OK, what do we have to do?” We’re a five, six seed. What do we got to do to make the jump? If you don’t have a line of communication with people who can make the changes or the people who can make impact for things happening for the better, then you’re just going out there playing.
IT WAS DECEMBER 2016 when Archibald learned of his diagnosis, during a free screening at the New York offices of the NBPA. And now, more than a year later, he’s still reeling from the news.
“What I have is really rare,” he says. “There’s no pills, nothing they have found that works. I’m being tested all the time, just hoping, you know?
“My [heart] could go any minute. But I’m not ready for that. I want to be around for a long time.”
The medical community has had little success solving the riddle of amyloidosis. For those who suffer from it, aside from participating in clinical trials, or the possibility of a heart transplant, which at Archibald’s age may not be viable, there isn’t much that can be done.
We celebrated Archibald’s 69th birthday last fall with this highlight video. If you’re not familiar with the 6-foot-1 guard’s exciting game, get acquainted:
Hopefully, Archibald gets his wish and sticks around a long time.