|Greg Oden has a post-NBA back-up career plan in mind. (Getty Images)|
This might be the single biggest "grass is greener on the other side" statement of all time.
Greg Oden, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, was released by the Portland Trail Blazers back in March after undergoing multiple knee surgeries. Since then, the 7-footer has returned to The Ohio State University to continue working towards his college degree. While Oden hasn't appeared in an NBA game in nearly three years, he's still trying to launch an NBA comeback.
But if the rehabilitation doesn't work out, Oden told the Terre Haute Tribune-Star that he has a back-up career plan in mind.
"If it happens, it happens," he said. "I've got to move on with my life. I know I want to play basketball. If I physically can't play basketball, then I've got to move on … I've still got to wake up tomorrow. I've still got to live. One day, I'm going to want a family and I've got to provide for them. So if basketball doesn't work out, you gotta keep it moving."
"I actually want to be a [high school or middle school] gym teacher," he said. "I feel like they have the best job ever. You think about it, they get their weekends off and they get to wear sweats every day to work."
What was that sound? Oh, it was every gym teacher in America simultaneously jumping up to volunteer to trade places with Greg Oden. Wear sweats every day and deal with ankle-biters or get paid millions to play a game in front of thousands of adoring fans? Sure, the dichotomy isn't quite that simple. But, still, Oden is a sole soul on one side of this equation with countless sports-obsessed educators staring back blankly at him from across the divide.
According to Payscale.com, the average American gym teacher earns less than $50,000 per year. By comparison, Oden earned roughly $23.3 million in his five seasons with the Blazers. Oden has played 1816 minutes over 82 games during his NBA career. Crunch the numbers, and Oden made more in every four minutes of playing time than he would during an entire year as a gym teacher.
The wealthy, though, aren't always as concerned about money as the rest of us. Oden, who has admitted to problems with alcoholism in the past, is clearly still searching for his path in life. That he's re-committed to his education and wants to be around athletics in the future, considering all that he's been through injury-wise, is both remarkable and praise-worthy.
Who are we to judge the recalculated goals of someone who seemingly had it all, but then had it all taken away? If Oden wants to be a gym teacher, then by all means let's hope it happens. And let's hope that if he ever leads a game of dodgeball against middle schoolers that someone, somewhere, finds a way to get video footage onto YouTube.