... behind Oden's face and beneath his pressed dress shirt there is another story, one that begins: Until We Meet Again.
In a fresh tattoo across his chest, Oden has memorialized his best friend, Travis Smith, who died in a car crash last January. Smith was Odens first friend in fourth grade when Zoe moved Oden and her younger son, Anthony, 17, from Buffalo to Terre Haute, Ind.
I'm not one to cry, Oden said. But I think about him all the time. I try to look out for his family.
Oden invited Travis's father, Jimmy, the boys' A.A.U. coach, and his wife, Tami, to attend the draft. I tried to talk to Jimmy on Father's Day, Oden said. He was just leaving the cemetery. He said, Thank you, but I really cant talk right now.