Former No. 1 Overall Pick Greg Oden Admits to Drinking Problem

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After initially hoping to return from injury and make some sort of an impact on the Portland Trail Blazers this season, it was announced that Greg Oden would have to have yetanother surgery for his knee. That ended any and all hope of him justifying the pick that the Blazers used on him over Kevin Durant way back in the day.

These past five years have been tough on the 24-year-old. So tough, in fact, that Oden recently recalled that he became an alcoholic to deal with the struggles.

He tells Grantland:

That's because it wasn't an NBA veteran who took Greg under his wing in his second season — it was his veteran cousin from the Air Force who moved into Greg's house in Portland.

"If you know anything about guys in the Air Force," Greg explained, "it's that they drink a ton. 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."

Oden also plans to take the year off next year and focus on getting a degree from Ohio State. Once he's ready, then he plans to return to the league.

Right now, his plan is to take off the entire 2012-13 season, move back to Columbus, take all the time he needs to rehab his knee back to full strength, and continue working toward the degree that he abandoned after one year at Ohio State. Once he feels ready, he plans to sign with an NBA team in 2013 and (hopefully) string together a few years of injury-free basketball.

"I'd just have to accept it," Greg 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."

At this point, you just gotta feel bad for the guy. He had a lot of potential, but injuries have taken their toll on him. Really wish him all the best.

Josh Dhani is the founder of FootBasket. He also contributes at Hoops Authority and Eight Points Nine Seconds. You can read more about him at his website. Follow him on Twitter @joshdhani.

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