Greg Oden - who is missing what would have been his rookie season because of microfracture knee surgery - traveled with the Blazers during the seven-game road trip earlier this month. And the 7-foot center made a contribution by sitting in with TV broadcasters Mike Barrett and Mike Rice for a quarter of the game at New Orleans.
Oden, who turned 20 last Tuesday, is naturally funny. He displayed his wit and humor as the Mikes grilled him on a variety of items.
• Asked if he is able to sleep comfortably on a king-size hotel bed: 'I have to sleep diagonal. I curl my feet up like a little kid.'
• On the 32-inch sandwich he was seen lugging in the hotel lobby: 'They told me the po' boy is the signature New Orleans sandwich. I said, 'Give me your biggest one.' It was the size of my leg. I was only able to eat half of it.'
• On his conditioning: 'Before I start running, I have to lose some weight. I'm pretty big. Nobody can really see, but this shirt is half a hot dog away from busting.'
• As he finished, implored by Barrett to offer some halftime motivational words for his teammates: 'I'm going to go get that half a hot dog.'
Rice asked Oden how long it will take him to make the adjustment to the NBA.
'I hope just one year,' Oden replied, 'including this one.'
- Kerry Eggers