The three defining debates of 2007:
1. Did Tony Soprano die?
2. Jessica Biel or Scarlett Johansson?
3. Greg Oden or Kevin Durant?
Only David Chase can settle the first one. Only Justin Timberlake can settle the second. But the third one? That's why I'm here. With Portland on the clock, let's break this baby down once and for all.
To be a superstar, your name needs to resonate like a superstar's. "Shawn Bradley" sounds like someone dying to get dunked on. "Nikoloz Tskitishvili" sounds like a tropical disease. "Ricky Davis" sounds like someone who would shoot at the wrong basket just so he could grab the rebound and fill in a triple-double. But "Greg Oden" and "Kevin Durant"? Not to be too Jack Horner, but those are some great names. I'm giving Durant the nod because his name would fit the lead character in any Omar Epps sports movie from 1993 to 2005.
Any budding franchise player should make you yelp every once in a while, like when Oden ripped away Corey Brewer's dunk in the NCAA title game. Durant had a ton of those moments last season, most notably his 25-point first-half barrage at Kansas, highlighted by his swishing a 27-footer and prancing in front of the stunned Jayhawks crowd. He wasn't showing off; it was more like he was saying, "This is awesome. I'm doing this in a famous gym on national TV!" Durant has that rare MJ/Kobe gene that allows him to catch fire like an NBA Jam character and make you think, Hey, he might spring for 50. Should I alert my friends? (37%...37%, people)
Oden dominates here because everyone on the planet, and even on some other planets, has already made the "How old is the guy?" joke. It's this decade's "Why did the characters on Gilligan's Island bring so many suitcases on a three-hour tour?" or "Does O.J. really expect to find the killers on a golf course?"
BIG EDGE: Oden