PORTLAND -- Blazer icon Bill Walton has some startling advice for injured center Greg Oden.
Take a time out from the NBA and move away (he suggested Hawaii) to discover his sense of self, to heal both physically and emotionally.
Walton, center on the mythic Blazer teams of the 70s, was in town to call the Boston Celtics game. He agreedto an interview with local sportswriters.
He was asked, of course, about Oden's injury-plagued career.
Walton said it's difficult for any athlete "to rise out of the gene pool" to play NBA ball day-after-day. Pointing to Rose Garden banners to Blazer greats, he singled out Clyde Drexler for longevity and excellence. He did the same for announcer Bill Schonely.
Now 58 and a successful broadcaster - amazing as he once had a bad stutter - Walton said all the negatives in his career, the injuries, surgeries, medical lawsuits, were a part of what made him today.
Here's what he had to say specifically about Oden.
"Things work out best for those who make the best out of how things work out.
The most important thing for Greg is to realize that he's done his best and Greg is a fierce competitor, who feels awful about the whole situation.
He feels like any other player, that he's let down the team, the franchise, the fans, the league, the sport down.
That's natural. If he didn't feel that way, you wouldn't' be a great player. You wouldn't be a great force. But he has to get over that.
It will always be a stain and stigma on all of our souls. We can never get rid of it, but you have to be able to move on and look about tomorrow.
My recommendation for Greg would be to move to Hawaii, lose a ton of weight, start his life over, just focus on health, movement, the happiness of what can be in life. And start over.
(Leave the NBA?)
What he's doing right now is not working. Just start over.
I mean it's not happening for him doing this.
Hopefully, he'll be able to come back.
(He should take a break then?)
Start over. Lose a ton of weight. Do what any rationale person would do in a health crisis.
In any crisis, go back to your core, back to who you are.
It's not about slight adjustment on the perimeter, on the fringe. It's about who you are, what you do, what you stand for.
Greg Oden has alot to offer to the is world. He is so much more than just a basketball player. He is a very smart guy and he is a a leader, and he is incredibly personable and giving and loving and sharing and we just hope the best for him."
"What you learn over time, that it's all about your health. It's all about your family. All the rest of it is just stuff."