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On Oden and Yao

“Point being, we are now bound together by a common hope: that our two talented and beloved big men can come back to fill the void their absence has left behind; that we can watch them go head-to-head once more, unburdened by the pain of the past and instead enjoying the sight of two of the game’s premiere big men battling each other at the height of their powers.

Their cities deserve such a sight. So, too, do their teams. But more than anyone, this Promethean pair deserves it. Thus, it is for them, and for all of us, that I hold out hope. I know they won’t give up. Neither, then, will I.”

As Jason Friedman so eloquently put it, “we are now bound together by a common hope.”

The Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers seek solace in the comfort of company.  From an unspoken rivalry in management and their 6 game battle upon the hardwood floors, to their newfound common consternation, it truly can be said that misery acquaints strange bedfellows.

With that said, I can’t empathize at the level which has been assumed of our fanbase.  Frankly, when Yao Ming was ruled out for the year, I only felt a calm numbness; his injury was the realization of a foregone conclusion.  Luck had simply run out, the odds merely validated.

In my eyes, Yao’s 77 game ’09 campaign was house money; a suspension of inevitability.  The 21 year old Oden seemed past his problems, finally displaying the defensive prowess for which he was so widely heralded.  For Greg, only greener pastures had lay ahead.  Greg had a future.  Yao, to me, was already nearing the end.

This apparent belittlement of my own grief may come as odd.  It is true that Yao’s injury abruptly thwarted an outside hope for the title.  This is clearly significant.  But it did not carry the long term ramifications that make this blow so crippling for Blazer Nation.  It did not plant angst of the unraveling of a dynasty foretold.

Time will tell how Oden recovers from this latest setback.  He has youth at his aid and by all accounts, an unyielding resolve.  But I can’t feel the pain of the Rose Garden for lack of similitude; I can only sympathize and offer condolence.  I wasn’t there when Houstonians wondered if Ralph would ever again be the same.  I was only there when for Yao, the writing on the wall became legible.  To me, the latter cannot compare to the case of Greg Oden.

About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of www.Red94.net.

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