Mike Conley says former teammate Greg Oden is ‘doing great’

It was a good summer for Indy product Mike Conley. In July, he signed the largest contract in NBA history: $153 million guaranteed over five years, an average of $30.6 million per year.

Here in Indianapolis, when we think of Conley we then immediately think of Greg Oden, who retired from the NBA due to a plethora of injuries. His body just wouldn’t let him continue; we’re talking several microfracture knee surgeries.

Oden moved to Indianapolis in high school, and first into the Conley’s home. Together, they were a dominant duo and led Lawrence North High School to three consecutive Class 4A State Titles.

Oden was Indiana’s Mr. Basketball in 2006. Conley was the runner-up. They both attended Ohio State for a year and reached the NCAA Championship Game, falling to Florida.

Oden was the first overall pick, taken by the Portland Trail Blazers. Conley went fourth to the Memphis Grizzlies, where he still resides. Oden’s career ended in 2014.

See what I’m saying — they’re forever linked.

Conley, who turned 29 in October, joined ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne for a podcast this week and at the end, he provided an update on his close friend. Mike said they last talked at the beginning of the New Year.

[Click here to listen to the podcast]

“I actually think he’s doing great,” Conley shared. “I think he’s been about as close to finding stable ground as he’s been in a long time. He’s kind of at peace with the basketball thing.

“All the stuff that transpired from his career, I think he’s moved on to trying to pursue different things with his post-basketball career. And now that he’s starting a family, I think that really has opened his eyes up a lot. I think it’s just a bunch of good things that are happening at the right time for him.”

Almost two years ago, he plead guilty to two felony battery counts, admitting that he punched his girlfriend in the face.

“Just seeing him grow, seeing him learn and mature and … he just had a baby girl this summer,” Conley continued. “We both had babies right around the same time, so it’s pretty ironic and cool that we’re going through the same kind of process together and have each other to lean on.

“It’s just fun to know that he’s got my back and I’ve got his. It will always be that way.”

Oden’s career earnings are approximately $24.3 million, according to Basketball-Reference.com. Meantime, his close friend, Conley, wow’d the NBA world when he inked a $153 million deal in free agency. (He’s already earned $56.2 million.)

Conley missed time earlier this season with what the team painfully called a transverse fractures in the vertebrae in his lower back. Despite that setback, he’s averaging a career-high 18.8 points, 6.0 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game and shooting 43.6 percent from the floor.

“It’s amazing just seeing all the people that have helped you get to where you are,” Conley added. “All the coaches, all the camps. Your parents, family members. I mean everybody who’s invested in you. It’s really neat to get something out of it at the end and to see that all of their sacrifices to help you have paid off. And that you can continue to help other people along the way.”

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