Former NBA center Greg Oden recently discussed life following his basketball career and dealing with depression.
The former No. 1 pick had his career derailed by a right knee ailment which required microfracture surgery. Oden sat out the entire 2007-08 season after the Portland Trail Blazers drafted him. He played in parts of each of the next two seasons, but did not play in the league for three years. He returned to the NBA during the 2013-14 season, when he played in 23 games with the Heat.
Oden's career ended after that. He finished with 105 total appearances. He described his exit from professional basketball as a "whole bunch of loss for me."
"I never thought that this was gonna be over," Oden said. "I thought that I was gonna keep on playing. And you never really look at the end while you’re playing, but when you see it, you’re like, ‘Oh, god. Did I really prepare?’ And it kind of caught me off guard. I went a whole month really without talking to people without knowing what I was doing. To me, it was just a whole month of wake up and [wondering] what I’m gonna do today."
Oden explained how following a stint playing basketball in China, he began drinking in order to alleviate stress.
"By the time I got back, I probably drank every day to basically numb myself to even get those feelings about how it was that it was over," he said.
However, Oden turned things around. Three years ago, he returned to Ohio State. Next month, he'll earn his degree. He will also participate in The Big 3 this season.