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Greg Ostertag On NBA Comeback: I Just Want To Play

Jan 10, 2012, 10:12 PM EDT

Greg Ostertag

RENO, Nev. — Greg Ostertag was the first big-name veteran to sign with the NBA Development League when he decided to embark on a comeback with the Texas Legends a few weeks ago. The longtime Utah Jazz center wasn’t impressive in his initial appearances, but the consensus was that as long as he was able to show improvement at this week’s NBA Development League Showcase, the 38-year-old has a chance to make it back to the big leagues.

The 7-foot-2 center played less than 11 minutes in Tuesday’s 94-86 victory over the Tulsa 66ers on Tuesday afternoon in front of a bevy of NBA scouts at Reno’s D-League Showcase, but he made them count with eight points and three rebounds while serving as a solid back-up center to Dallas Mavericks’ assisgnee Sean Williams.  The Texas native knows that’s exactly what he needed to do in order to work further toward his goal — a goal that was just re-hatched last month.

“I’d been out for five years and I missed it. The first year I didn’t miss it much, but as retirement went on I started missing it more. I tried to come back a couple times and it didn’t work out so I thought I’d give it one more shot,” Ostertag told Pro Basketball Talk following Tuesday’s game. “I’d been thinking about it while they were working on the NBA lockout so when they got the lockout done I made a call to my agent and asked what he thought the chances were. He said ‘let’s give it a shot, we’ll try to get you on a D-League team’ and here I am.”

Admittedly, the comeback didn’t start off as swimmingly as one could hope as Ostertag struggled in his first game, but it’s understandable that it wasn’t easy for a guy to return to form with two weeks of conditioning following a five-year absence.

“In my first game, I was back for two weeks and then thrown into a game for 17 minutes. I played as hard as I could for 17 minutes, but we didn’t have a whole lot of practice time to get extra conditioning or some practice in,” Ostertag said. “Part of it’s been because I’ve been sore and these knees are aching so when I do get off the court, I want to let my body rest.”

He showed Tuesday that his conditioning is improving, though, while admitting it’s still a process.

“I’m getting there, man. I’ve only had two weeks of being back in basketball,” Ostertag said. “These teams know what I’m capable of doing, it’s just a matter of being in shape enough to get out there and do what I’m capable of doing to get out on the floor and be productive.”

Productivity is relative, of course, but Ostertag believes his knowledge and ability to fill the role he filled during his entire NBA career will benefit him when NBA teams begin looking at back-up big men over the coming weeks.

“I’ll be ready for whatever. I just want to play. Teams know what I can bring to the table – putbacks, clogging the paint, rebounding and that’s it,” Ostertag said. “It’s more just a matter of getting into shape enough to go out and play 10 minutes or 20 minutes or whatever an NBA team wants me to play.”

As long as an NBA team wants him to play, regardless of minutes, he’ll be happy. Which NBA team wouldn’t want to make Greg Ostertag happy?

  1. goforthanddie - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    “These teams know what I’m capable of doing”

    No, they know what you were capable of many moons ago. They also know you can do less now. Back to the farm, big’un.

    • trbowman - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:08 AM

      Burn, baby, burn.

  2. trbowman - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    He wants back in, I say good for him making the effort.

  3. bparmalee - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    I want to ask why… but I guess the world really isnt built for people his size. I wonder if the only place people his size feel comfortable is on a basketball court? I say good luck to him whatever the reason.

    • trbowman - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:00 AM

      People might thing he’s weird looking, but if you see that guy in public, are you gonna give him a look?

      Nah.

  4. sgati8 - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    That broke huh…

  5. bossaliniee - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    R u kidding me,the guy was garbage when he played.Sit down.

    • bozosforall - Jan 11, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      Better than you will ever be, loser boi.

  6. passerby23 - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    I admire his ambition to give it another shot, but he’s five years too late. He was a marginal/serviceable player at best during his prime. Whatever athleticism and mobility he once had must be even worse now regardless of what kind of shape he gets in. Hang it up, Greg, the fire may be burning but there’s no fireplace to hold it.

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