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Ways Oden is Well-Centered and You are Not

1. Oden has demonstrated clear-headedness.  His perspective is based on reality versus fantasy. Oden says that he hasn't done anything in the NBA yet. He is hopeful but he refuses to put the cart in front of the horse. We all want to be the first to recognize the next big thing. Oden knows that the next big thing isn't something to crown in anticipation. It is something to experience, to look back on in wonder. Would he like to be the next big thing? Absolutely. Does Oden have dreams of championships and NBA stardom. Duh. Does Oden feel comfortable with the idea of an SI cover photo when he has not earned it on the court? Obviously not. Oden is not that interested in potential. Oden is interested in realizing that potential. Oden will be ready to talk SI cover when they are asking him about the amazing thing he did, not the amazing thing he might do.

2. Oden is a warrior. As a warrior, he understands what Sun Tzu and Lao Tzu and others have espoused. To win, he has to know his opponent. And, as importantly, he has to know himself. Oden is frustrated. He is just getting a feel for what it is like to compete at this level. Facing injuries, he is not saying that they are keeping him from displaying his God-given dominance. He is dealing with what is, his God-given upsides and downsides, while trying to develop NBA-level big man skills that often take years to mature. When asked if there could be anything more frustrating than rolling his ankle in his first NBA game and being out for weeks, Oden said, 'Yes. My team losing by 20.'

You (include me here), on the other hand, are Blazer Fans. Fanatics. The Blazers are an escape for us. A happy land of possibility, of potential, of dominating the league from 2010 until Roy and LMA and Rudy leave the NBA on a three-pronged repirator. We see the possibilities, and see the season starting, and no matter how hard the deck is stacked against this young team in the first month, we want wins. We have been waiting!

You are also most of the Blazers players. In LA, most of the guys were so nervous to be the team everyone makes them out to be, they clutched. We gotta play loose. Gripping is a death sentence. So Sergio throws a horrible lob and makes a turnover, so what.

You are also Nate. To get his team to relax, he has to relax. This ain't even the playoffs. We are not who we think we are, yet. And we will only get to that promised land if we loosen up and ball.

QED:  Oden is Well-Centered. And You are not.

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