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Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Greg Oden celebrate Heat win

Serena Williams Caroline Wozniacki Greg Oden

If this isn’t about the oddest trio to take a photo together at a Miami Heat game, then I don’t know what is.

Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki both attended Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Heat and Pacers in Miami on Friday night and celebrated the series-clinching win by taking a photo with Greg Oden after the game.

Serena and Woz both were knocked out of the French Open early and have plenty of time on their hands to enjoy themselves, and they’re doing just that. Serena is a minority owner of the Heat, while Wozniacki has been a fan of the club for the last few years and even attended games with ex-fiance Rory McIlroy.

I have to say, what Serena is doing to lift the spirits of her heartbroken friend is pretty cool. Not only did she send a positive tweet to Caro last week, but the two hung out before the French Open and obviously are now hanging out together since they’ve lost. Nothing like going to a big-time Heat game and hanging with Serena to help you get over an ex.

Greg Oden: I know I’m one of the biggest busts in NBA history

Greg Oden

Greg Oden has gone from former No. 1 overall pick to NBA benchwarmer, but he is not ashamed of his career arc. In fact, the current Miami Heat reserve seems to have come to terms with his legacy.

Oden’s former Ohio State teammate Mark Titus, who was a walk-on/benchwarmer for the Buckeyes when Oden was a star, wrote up a feature on his buddy for Grantland. Titus aimed to find out how Oden was handling his role as a benchwarmer — the center hasn’t played a minute in the playoffs for the Heat — and asked him if he’s OK hardly seeing the court.

“I know I’m one of the biggest busts in NBA history and I know that it’ll only get worse as Kevin Durant continues doing big things … It’s frustrating that my body can’t do what my mind wants it to do sometimes. But worrying or complaining about it isn’t going to fix anything … I wish the circumstances would let me play more, but I certainly don’t regret coming back, and I don’t regret signing with the Heat,” Oden said.

It’s too bad Oden has such a harsh view of himself. Sure, he may have turned out to be a bust, but that’s not the full story. He was a dominant college player. He would have been a good NBA center. But he just had a terrible body that wouldn’t cooperate with him. Most of what happened to him is out of his control. And he didn’t make himself the No. 1 overall pick; the Blazers did.

But I can’t say any of what’s happened this year with him on the Heat has been a surprise. I told you from the start that I didn’t like the signing and considered it a waste because Oden’s body makes him too unreliable. They’re learning that lesson.

H/T For the Win

Greg Oden dunks for first points with Miami Heat (Video)

greg oden dunkGreg Oden on Wednesday played his first minutes in the NBA since December 2009, and he threw down a dunk for his first points with the Miami Heat.

The Heat were losing by more than 30 points in the second quarter against the Washington Wizards when Oden scored. He got the rebound on a missed Dwyane Wade layup attempt, and he went up strong for the dunk. As you can see in the video, his teammates loved it.

We love the enthusiasm on the dunk with the way he pulled himself up Shaq-style. This was his first game in 1,502 days, according to ESPN Stats and Info. It’s really cool to see him playing in a meaningful game again. Savor the moments, too, because it won’t be much longer before Humpty Dumpty falls back apart again.

Video via GIFD Sports

Miami Heat trying to sell Greg Oden gear before he gets hurt

Miami Heat Greg Oden gear

I have to admit, it was pretty cool seeing Greg Oden play in an NBA game, albeit a preseason one, for the first time since 2009. It was thrilling, it was nice to see him back in a game after all he’s been through, and you could tell his Miami Heat teammates were stoked for him. But one group got a little too excited about Oden’s debut: the people running the Heat’s Twitter account.

[Video: Greg Oden dunks on first touch in preseason game]

While Oden was making his preseason debut for the Heat, the team’s Twitter account was trying to push sale of his gear in the team store.

That link took you to a specific page of Greg Oden gear in the team’s online shop.

I guess they had to act fast knowing Oden’s season could end at any time because of another knee injury, but sheesh, maybe wait two games before we start pushing all his gear?

By the way, are we really charging $110 for the jersey of a guy who probably won’t last a month? I think a better investment would be renting an Oden jersey for $20 per game he plays. You’ll still probably come out ahead.

H/T Brett Pollakoff

Greg Oden dunks in first preseason game since 2009 (Video)

Greg Oden dunkGreg Oden played in his first preseason NBA game since 2009, and the Miami Heat center dunked on his first touch.

Oden has been practicing for the Heat on and off because of his problematic knees, but the team had him play on Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans. He checked into the game midway through the second quarter and grabbed two rebounds in addition to that dunk. He was pulled after playing 1:20.

I’ve said that the Heat can’t count on Oden for anything, but it’s great to see him back. You could tell how much his teammates enjoyed watching him throw down. His last regular-season NBA game was Dec. 5 2009 when he was with the Portland Trailblazers.

Greg Oden was told by doctor to retire after latest surgery

Greg OdenGreg Oden signed with the Miami Heat and is attempting to become the first NBA player to return from three microfracture knee surgeries. At 25, the former No. 1 overall pick is still young, but his body is much older than his age indicates. He’s gone through more wear and tear than most athletes go through in their entire careers.

“I got an old body,” Oden told reporters over the weekend, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I’m going to put it like that. I understand. My body is not going to be when I was 18, able to run all day and jump over people. I can’t do that now. It’s just not going to happen. My knees, the wear and tear of the surgeries, I understand that.”

Since being drafted first overall by the Portland Trailblazers in 2007, Oden has only played in 82 career games. Though everyone still believes he is talented and worth the risk of signing — multiple teams tried getting him before he chose to sign with the Heat — the reality of his situation must be understood. Oden’s knees have gone through so much, he was advised by his latest doctor to just retire after undergoing surgery in February 2012.

“After that surgery in 2012, my last surgery, the doctor said, ‘Just be a regular person, go live life. Be a regular person. You would be perfectly fine walking out of this place and not have to worry about any rehab or anything.’”

Oden said he tried doing that for a few weeks, but he began watching NBA TV and the hunger and desire to play basketball came back to him. His love for the game would not allow him to retire.

It’s admirable that Oden is still trying to play despite everything he has gone through, but this is exactly why I’m not expecting anything from him. He has gone through so much and his body is broken down. I don’t think it will take long for his knees to give out again, which will lead to doctors advising him to retire. Unfortunately, I don’t see him giving the Heat much next season. But at least he does have heart.

H/T Los That Sports Blog

Miami Heat recruited Greg Oden with dinner at Chili’s

Greg Oden

Greg Oden has decided to sign with the Miami Heat, giving the two-time defending champs an interesting wild card as they look to make it three titles in a row. Oden is a former No. 1 overall pick who can give them the defensive presence in the middle, but the guy has not played in an NBA game since 2009 and is coming back from three microfracture knee surgeries. Still, despite his injury history, there were several teams interested in signing him.

So how did the Heat beat out all the others suitors? Having LeBron James doesn’t hurt, but a comfortable dinner at Chili’s definitely helped.

According to FOX Sports Florida’s Chris Tomasson, Oden had a good time talking with Heat coach Erik Spoelstra during a dinner meeting at Chili’s.

“He really liked talking with Erik at Chili’s,” Oden’s agent Mike Conley Sr. told Tomasson. “I think that played a major role. He just felt very comfortable with him.”

Chili’s huh? You know Oden is about that baby back ribs life. And he’s certainly low maintenance, too.

Oden will sign a two-year deal for the minimum, which will be $1.027 million next season based on his experience. He also has a $1.145 million option for 2014-2015.

A lot of people like the signing because they believe it is low-risk for Miami. Oden will not be pushed to perform early in the season, and he will have the comfort of knowing they were able to win two titles without him. The thinking is that he’ll be able to contribute at his pace.

I certainly understand all that, and I definitely recognize how good Oden used to be. But I have a problem with getting excited about a team signing a guy you can’t count on. To me, this is just like Brandon Roy. Good guy who used to be a great player, but he just has too many knee problems to play in the NBA. Hopefully I’m proven wrong.