Oden opens up about alcoholism

Portland's Greg Oden warms-up before the game against the Golden State Warriors on November 20,...

Portland's Greg Oden warms-up before the game against the Golden State Warriors on November 20, 2009 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Rocky Widner/Getty Images/AFP)

THE SPORTS XCHANGE

, Last Updated: 4:47 PM ET

Former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden opened up about alcohol abuse and told Grantland.com that he intends to sit out the 2012-13 season.

Drafted in 2007, Oden has played in just 82 NBA games in five years with the Portland Trail Blazers, and hasn’t appeared in a game since Dec. 2009. He’s had five knee surgeries during his time in Portland, who released him in March.

Oden’s time away from the court has led him to alcohol, he told Grantland’s Mark Titus. It happened because a cousin who had served in the Air Force had moved into his Portland home.

“If you know anything about guys in the Air Force, it’s that they drink a ton,” Oden told the web site. “My cousin got wrapped up in the NBA lifestyle and threw parties at my house all the time. So I got wrapped up in it too. When I played well, I’d drink to celebrate. And when I played poorly, I’d drink to forget. That second year in Portland, I pretty much became an alcoholic.”

In February, Oden underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and microfracture surgery on his left knee. He told Grantland.com that he doesn’t plan to retire, but will take a year off knowing that his career might be over.

“I’d just have to accept it,” he said. “I’m at peace with everything. I want more than anything to be able to play again. But if I can’t, I’ll still have a decent life. Getting cut (by Portland) kind of put everything into perspective.

"There’s more to life than basketball, and at some point it’s going to end anyway. I’m going to do what I can to get back on the court, but if it doesn’t work out, I’ll find something else to do and have a normal life.”


Videos

Photos