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Team Oden's Summer Party For Oregon Mentors

08/21/10
  1. Written by: trailblazers

    VANCOUVER, WA -- At seven-feet tall, it’s safe to say most people look up to Trail Blazers center Greg Oden.  Certainly the 200 or so kids that gathered at Big Al’s in Vancouver, Wash on Saturday for the 3rd Annual Team Oden Summer Slam do.  The event was an opportunity for Oden to raise awareness for Oregon Mentors, but also to thank the thousands of volunteer mentors who’ve already joined Team Oden.

    “It means a lot,” said Oden.  “I’ve been with Oregon Mentors since 2008.  Their original goal was to get 40,000 kids with mentors and we have 35,000 signed up.  So, I’m pretty excited about that and before the end of the year we hope to get 5,000 more.”

    Oden took a special interest in mentoring following the death of his best friend Travis Smith in a tragic car accident in 2007.  Smith’s father, Jimmy Smith, is the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club in Terre Haute and a long-time mentor of Oden’s.  Greg took up the cause to honor Travis, but also to make Jimmy proud.

    “I just went to have dinner with Jimmy on Wednesday,” said Oden. “A mentor is just somebody you can get close to and trust to talk to still.  You don’t have to be a little kid. You can be a grown man -- there’s somebody there.”

    Oden spent the better part of his time at Big Al’s having his picture taken, signing autographs and bowling with the Oregon Mentor kids and volunteers.

    Of course, wherever Oden goes these days the inevitable questions about the rehabilitation of his knee are sure to follow.

    “Yea, the knee feels good, but I really don’t think about the knee when I’m bowling,” laughed Oden.

    Oden says he has started running again, but has yet to play basketball and was hesitant to speculate when that might be.

    “You got to ask the doctors that,” said Oden.  “Me, I go by what they say. Whatever is my next phase that’s what I go to.

    “The doctors tell me I’m on time.  We’re going at it at a pace they’ve got for me and so things look pretty good.”
     

    Latest Messageboard topic regarding Oden: Who should start, Greg or Marcus?

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