The world has waited years to see this matchup. But why is nobody talking about it?
Two once-in-a-lifetime type of players.
One, a freakish 7 foot, dominant defensve center who was tagged as a "once in a generation big man" and the "next Bill Russell". No one, other than LeBron, had ever been this hyped. NBA scouts were drooling over him when he was a 15 year old kid and the NBA was waiting for him to come in and bring back the dominant old-school center.
The other, a silky smooth 6'9 wing that scored at will. This guy looked like he was born to play basketball. He had a 7'3" wing span and moved like a guard. He was considered one of the best pure scorers to ever come into the NBA. In college, he one every award possible as a freshman. In fact, he was the first ever to win National Player of the Year as a freshman, and it wasn't even close.
For months, the basketball world argued and debated over who to take. You couldn't go on the internet without seeing something to do with these two. It was unlike anything I've ever seen.
Now, you know the story. Portland wins the lottery and picks Greg Oden, while Durant lands on what was then the Seattle Supersonics. The NBA immediately jumped on this. When the schedule was released, I remember seeing a picture of Oden and Durant on espn.com. Oden vs Durant was the finale on Christmas day and was one of the most anticipated games of the season. When's the last time a Blazers-Sonics regular season game got anyone outside of the northwest excited? Oden and Durant changed everything.The landscape of basketball, included.
Ok, so Oden misses the season and we don't get that Oden-Durant Christmas day finale. Now, here we are, in February 2009, and tomorrow Oden will finally play against Durant. Where's all the hype? I would have thought another year to wait would make people more excited. Last year this would have been a marquee game. Now it's an afterthought. No national TV (instead ESPN is going to Washington DC). No attention at all.
All those times you've heard, "Portland should have picked Durant" by some punk, and now they finally get to play each other. Finally. Somehow they never played each other in high school or college. In summer league, Oden was getting his tonsils out. In preseason and the regualr season last year, Oden was rehabbing.
Has everyone forgotten the big debate? I thought they'd be forever linked, but I've literally heard NOTHING about them playing against each other.
It's been over a year and a half since we picked Oden and now we finally get to settle it on the court Friday night! But am I the only one that's excited?