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Ex-Blazers center Greg Oden opens up on playing in Portland

Greg Oden, Blazers

Former Portland Trail Blazers big man Greg Oden was among many voicing opinion on the reality of living in the city.

In an interview with Jason Wilson of The Guardian, Oden noted how difficult it was to live in Portland as a young African-American male.

As described in The Guardian article, Portland has turned into an epicenter for far right politics and demonstrations promoting white nationals’ racists beliefs. The previously thought-of-as-progressive utopia of Portland — also home to the one-time NBA champions Blazers — has slowly but surely become a battleground for protestors demanding law enforcement accountability while clashing with far-right “Proud Boys” and other fringe-fascist groups using the guise of free speech to demonstrate radical beliefs.

“It isn’t a great city to live in if you’re a young African American male with a lot of money,” said Oden, who was drafted by the Blazers with the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

Oden, whose career was marred with knee issues, hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2013-14 season. The seven-foot center appeared in 82 games with the Blazers across two seasons before sitting out one season and eventually being waived by Portland in March of 2012.

The former top pick later attempted an NBA comeback with the Miami Heat before competing in China. Oden currently plays in Ice Cube’s three-on-three competitive league, the BIG3, with other notable former NBA players.