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What do you wish for Greg Oden? Readers weigh in

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Greg Oden, on the bench during a December 2011 Trail Blazers game.On Tuesday, in a moment of reflection about a certain former Trail Blazer center, I Tweeted this:

"Nothing personal, but no way does anyone in Portland hope Greg Oden succeeds somewhere else. #toomuchinvested."

Oden, apparently progressing well as he rehabs through his third microfracture knee surgery, has been auditioning for teams as a free agent this summer and reportedly has a half-dozen contract offers to sift through. The 7-footer intends to make a decision by next week.

I figured my Tweet might spur a little reaction, pro and con.

There was plenty of reaction, more con than pro.

A few followers agreed with me. The majority, though, said they are rooting for the player the Blazers took with the first pick in the 2007 draft.

Some of the reaction:

"Hope he does. Like to see guys counted out succeed."

"I do. I'm a big fan of his. It just didn't work out with us. It doesn't affect my Blazer fandom."

"I hope he does just so we can see how good we had it. Letting him go was (a Paul) Allen decision. Let him deal with it."

"I find myself hoping he does well. I have more interest seeing him than the Blazers now. Shifting interests while rebuilding."

"Not only do I hope Oden comes back, but I hope he dominates. Would love to see him team up with LBJ (LeBron James) and crush."

"Totally disagree re Oden. However, I didn't want to see (Brandon) Roy play well in MN. Kinda felt like he was cheating on the Zers."

"Please don't speak for Blazer fans. Hoping Greg comes back strong!"

"I'll never root against a 25-year-old kid trying to come back from 3 microfractures."

"Shocked you would say that. From this lifelong Blazermaniac, basic human compassion trumps old sports news."

KGW-TV's Katherine Cook weighed in this way: "I kinda do. Be great to see a Jumbotron shot of him NOT wearing a suit jacket and frown -- even if he's in another team's uni :/"

And KATU-TV's estimable Craig Birnbach offered a bit of admonishment: "When you actively root against someone's success … that's actually really personal."

Rather than trying to respond in 140 characters, let me explain my position on the young man who was paid $19 million while playing 82 games during his four years with Portland.

I'm not a Blazer fan. I'm a member of the media who covers the Blazers and wishes them and their players no ill will, but I'm disqualified from rooting for them or any other NBA club.

If I were a follower of the local quintet, though, I'd be darned if I'd want to see Oden helping Miami or San Antonio to an NBA championship in the future.

That doesn't mean I would be "actively rooting" against Oden's success. I'd probably be more along the lines of one Tweeter who wrote, "I would love it if he would not injure himself again and have a good NBA career -- just not a great one."

Oden's rash of injuries was a gut shot to Blazer fans who have had a string of them over the years, from the drafting of LaRue Martin over Bob McAdoo and Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan to Roy's sudden fall from superstar to the retired ranks.

I've heard Portlanders complain ad nauseum about the decision to take Oden over Kevin Durant in the '07 draft, and what Durant would have meant to the Blazers' championship hopes. I continue to buy the theory prevalent at the time, though, that the Blazers were right in taking a once-in-a-generation-type big man -- with no history of serious injury -- over a top-quality small forward.

I'm a little surprised to see so many Tweeters take the high road and say regardless of what has happened, "human compassion" has them pulling for Oden to make All-Star games and help a team to the title in a different uniform. If and when that happens, I'll be interested to see if that really becomes the majority response from basketball fans in our city.

I think it's human nature to hope those things don't happen.

No, Mr. Birnbach, it's not personal. I liked Oden and had some good interviews with him, especially in his first two seasons in Portland, when things hadn't started to slide downhill so much. His personal life spun out of control at times -- the photo of his genitals that went viral was not a good-for-the-career move -- but he didn't seem like a bad guy.

I'm with Katherine Cook in that it would be nice to see him not have to cringe as Oden did when the Jumbotron camera focused on him as he stood sheepishly in street clothes outside the Blazer huddle during a timeout his final two seasons with the club.

Perhaps I misjudged the tenderheartedness of the Blazer faithful as they follow the career of their former fallen warrior.

Should his luck taken an upturn, though, I'm thinking it will be hard for the average Portland fan to accept the what-could-have part of Greg Oden's career as a Blazer. The investment I Tweeted about was every bit as much emotional as financial. That's just the way it is for those who care about professional sports teams.

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Twitter: @kerryeggers