We're proud to announce a Hardwood Paroxysm exclusive. Thanks to our very supportive relationship with Yardbarker, we landed a brief interview with the Big Chill himself, Greg Oden. He was kind enough to agree to trade emails with us about his return to action, blogging, and how he likes the nickname that we gave him. It's a brief interview, no doubt because he was so busy with getting ready to destroy the entire NBA and grasp its power in his gigantic hand. You can read Greg's blog exclusively at Yardbarker.
No seriously, he actually answered these things, we're not making them up. This time.
HP: First off, how's the knee? What percentage would you say you're back to? How much would you say you're "back to normal"?
GO: The knee is feeling great. And let me say, I’m not giving out percentages. I’m not sure if I’m back to where I was because my weight is different from when I started. I’m heavier now so we’ll see. I’m still working on it, as I haven’t played in a year.
HP: Do you feel like that with the year off you were forced to take with injury, there's even more pressure on you to perform in what will essentially be your rookie season? How do you approach that kind of a challenge?
GO: I feel like I’m going into my rookie season. Because of the experience I received traveling, I feel I’ll be able to handle the pressure better.
HP: The Trailblazers were a good team even before they drafted you. Since then they've added a ton of talent, including Jerryd Bayless and Rudy Fernandez. With that kind of talent, you guys are primed for not only a good season, but a likely playoff run. Have you and your teammates discussed goals for the upcoming season, and if so, what are they?
GO: There hasn’t been any discussion yet because I haven’t seen a bunch of my teammates. They have yet to return to Portland from their summer break.
HP: Who have you built the best relationship with on the Blazers? Who do you hang out the most with?
GO: Well, last season I had the closest relationship with Josh McRoberts, but he got traded. An then after Josh, it was Taurean Green, but he got traded also (laughs). But it’s cool because I get along with all my teammates.
HP: What's been the coaching staff's attitude towards your recovery and progress towards next year?
GO: They’re excited for me and our team. They see me as a good piece to improve our already good team. They’ve been behind me 100%.
HP: In the time you've had to develop and work with the coaching staff, have you added anything else to your game?
GO: I’m trying. I’ve been shooting a lot so I’d say I’ve added more of a jumpshot, somewhat.
HP: You've been blogging for Yardbarker, and yours is one of the most popular blogs our network has. Do you like having that kind of connection with your fans and the opportunity to share things about your life?
GO: Yes, I enjoy blogging. It’s something that I can do to keep my fans up to date. I write a couple stories and that gives me a have a chance to communicate with fans. Plus, sometimes they comment and I can reply to them.
HP: Stephon Marbury got a head tattoo a few weeks ago, with his logo. I've been asking every NBA player I interview this, would you ever get a tattoo on your head? And let's assume you did decide to. What would you get?
GO: First of all, I’d never get a tattoo on my head. If I did, I probably get some crazy design that would like I had cornrows over my entire head.
HP: Our blog has given you a new nickname. Due to your extremely personable and laid back demeanor and your ability to settle down an opponent's pace with a massive dunk, we've nicknamed you "The Big Chill." Is that nickname cool with you?
GO: Um, I’m not a huge fan of The Big Chill. I used to be called The Big Freeze (but I don’t remember why), Odie and G-O. I like G-O the best. (Ed. Note: Well, you better get used to it, Greg, because not only are we sticking with it, we're promoting it. It's not a nickname. It's a movement.)
HP: What are you most looking forward to about the season?
GO: Playing. Just playing.
We want to thank Greg for the interview, and we wish him luck this season (even though we're keeping the nickname. Big Chill FTW!). Special thanks to Alex Rofman at Yardbarker for help with this interview.