What happened to former NBA star Greg Oden, and where is he now?

Joshua Rogers October 28, 2022
What happened to former NBA star Greg Oden, and where is he now?
Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Greg Oden was one of the most hyped players to enter the NBA in decades. However, his career never lived up to the lofty expectations. But what really happened to Greg Oden, and where is he now in 2022?

Oden was a high school sensation after leading Lawrence North High School to three consecutive state championships from 2004-2006. During that time, he was named Indiana Mr Basketball and was also the Gatorade National player of the year.

The 7ft big man would then go on to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes alongside Mike Conley. Together, they would reach the 2007 National Championship game losing to the Florida Gators.

Oden finished his tenure as a Buckeye by being named as a member of the 2007 first-team All-Big Ten team. He also went on to win the Pete Newell Big Man Award, and was a Consensus second-team All-American.

The former No.1 overall pick’s NBA career explored

Oden was the No. 1 overall pick for the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2007 NBA Draft. He was selected ahead of Kevin Durant, and there were huge expectations on his shoulders heading into the league.

However, three months after being drafted, Oden underwent the first operation of his NBA career – microfracture surgery on his right knee. He missed the entirety of the season and only made his NBA debut during the 2008-2009 season against the Los Angeles Lakers.  He would leave the game with a foot injury after playing just thirteen scoreless minutes.

In December 2009, Oden injured his left knee and would undergo surgery for a fractured left patella. He missed the remainder of his sophomore season, as injuries continued to plague him.

Oden continued to have knee problems in the proceeding years, undergoing several micro-fracture surgeries in order to correct his ongoing issues. By then, Portland had seen enough, and decided to part ways with him in 2012. Greg would sit out the remainder of the season, but returned the following year after signing a one-year deal with the Miami Heat.

The 2013-2014 season was arguably the best of his career. Oden and LeBron James’ Heat team reached the NBA Finals. They lost in five games to the San Antonio Spurs.

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

What happened to Greg Oden after his time in Miami?

After playing with the Heat, a number of teams showed interest in acquiring Oden’s services, including the Memphis Grizzlies. However, a move never materialised and in 2015 Oden decided to play overseas, signing a one-year, $1.2 million contract with the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association. He left China in 2016 having averaged 13.0 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks.

In 2018, Oden participated as a member of the Scarlet and Gray team in The Basketball Tournament 2018, a $2 million winner-take-all summer tournament. In 2019, he was selected by the Aliens as the seventh overall pick in the 2019 BIG3 Draft, but that was ultimately where his playing days ended.

Injuries limited Oden to just 105 career games across seven seasons in the NBA. He averaged 8.0 points and 6.2 rebounds for the Blazers and Miami Heat in what was undeniably an underwhelming career.

Photo by Stacy Revere/BIG3 via Getty Images

Where is Greg Oden now in 2022?

Oden revealed that after returning from China he struggled with depression and began drinking. However, his life started to take a more positive turn when he married his girlfriend Sabrina in Hawaii in 2017. Things really started to turn around for Oden when his former coach, Thad Matta, advised him to complete his college degree.

The former NBA star would later enrol at Ohio State. In 2019, it was revealed that he graduated from the university with a degree in sport industry. Oden had been on Ohio State’s staff as a student manager and student assistant coach under Thad Matta and Chris Holtmann from 2016-19.

He returned to Ohio State

In 2021, Oden was announced as an assistant coach of the DC Stealth of The Professional Collegiate League. However, in September 2021, SI reported that Oden was rejoining the Buckeyes’ coaching staff instead as graduate assistant this season.

“I’m thankful, honestly, for coach Holt and his staff who have welcomed me in and given me this opportunity because that’s literally what I want to do is get into coaching,” Oden said.

“One of the toughest things to do is get your foot in the door. So for them to give me this opportunity while I’m able to actually get a Master’s degree in sports coaching from The Ohio State University, which I would love, is something that’s just amazing. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m just so thankful and ready to take advantage of this opportunity.”

“What it’s really about is being able to help the kids coming in and bring something to the university and be able to help these kids graduate and hopefully further their playing career,” Oden added. “I think I’ve got some things I can add to that, off the court as well as on. That’s the reason why I want to be a coach in the first place. I look forward to that as well.”

While he may be an NBA ‘bust’, there’s no doubt that Oden has a unique set of talents. Hopefully he can inspire the next generation of ballers coming up.

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.