I write this as you are undoubtedly going through emotions that I can not fully comprehend. I will not try to. You are a very talented person, so talented and strong that expectations grew to porportions you probably were never going to meet. This is not your fault. These expectations always fealt realistic when people (including myself) made them for you. The sky was the limit.
The thing that fans forget about, sometimes, is how selfish we are. We will whine and complain and throw anyone under the bus when things aren't going right. This is just a simple spouting of emotion. Some of us love the game equally to any player. Yourself included. We are all part of a grand machine. The owners, managers, coaches, players, fans, etc. Take one cog out and the machine no longer runs. You are equally as important as anybody.
But we are not machines. We are human. Part of being human is our ability to empathize and care for another person. Last night, when I listened to the press conference on the radio, I could not help but feel so much pain. It wasn't pain that the Trail Blazers are losing their star center for yet another season. It wasn't that I felt my personal hopes for this team were suddenly dissolved. The pain I felt was for you.
I can not imagine your life and the things you've gone through professionally and personally. I wish that I could. Here you are with yet another obstacle...uncertainty. Events like this do happen for a reason. Sometimes the reasons illuminate themselves to you and sometimes you have to make them. Can you still have a great basketball career? Yes. Is there a chance that you never shake the injury bug? Also, Yes. Nothing is given and you may never know the answers, but that is not what is important. What is important is that you do not ever let your basketball career define you as a person.
You have represented more to this town than you may realise. From the moment Brandon Roy stood there posing for the cameras as the ambasador of my beloved team with the number 1 draft pick I knew Greg Oden was coming to Portland. Suddenly hope was thick in the air. It was and still is a great time to be a fan. Perhaps the tables have turned and now that hope I focus on you. Hope is a powerful thing. You gave that to this town and just for that amazing feeling I am indebted to you.
I want you to have all that you deserve and conquer these trials with relentless will. Regardless of whether you are a Trail Blazer, when it's all said and done I am a fan of basketball and of Greg Oden. Even if you decide to never pick up a basketball again, I am your fan.
When I am 80 sitting with my grand-children and their children, I want to be telling them stories of a man that had great obstacles to overcome. A man that faced those obstacles, didn't question why they were thrust upon him, and absolutely conquered all of them. I want to tell the story of Greg Oden.
I wish you nothing but the best in this life. Good luck to you.