Sam Bowie RumorsAll NBA Players
Chandler and Gasol have enjoyed great careers, Brown and Curry not so much. It’s a reminder that betting the franchise’s future on big men is always risky, with the most infamous example coming in 1984 when Hakeem Olajuwon went No. 1, Sam Bowie went No. 2 and the player widely considered to be the best ever in the game was still on the board. A lesser-known blunder from that draft was that 15 teams passed on John Stockton. “You go back to the Olajuwon-Bowie-Jordan draft,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “In years past and maybe even today it makes sense to build around a big, but you don’t want to take a big because it’s a big and pass on the No. 3 pick — which turned out to be Michael Jordan.” Hence, maybe taking a guard the wiser move “It can be argued in today’s game that maybe you should do that,” Kupchak said.
The general idea of learning from mistakes has been captured in platitudes aplenty for centuries. However, most of us who exist in the public eye or have some kind of public platform rarely acknowledge our mistakes. There are likely numerous reasons for this. In the NBA, I noticed how quickly people would distance themselves from personnel moves that went awry and how equally quickly they would position themselves to take some kind of credit when the moves worked out. This can likely be chalked up to simple self-preservation. There are very few jobs in the NBA and many people who want them. Admitting mistakes in our culture is seen as a sign of weakness even despite all of the clichés to the contrary.
Long before I worked in the league, I wrote that I would take Kevin Durant over Greg Oden. Granted, this was a different situation since I wasn’t submitting an official report to a team, but the position still wasn’t a popular one among NBA people I knew. One GM I had a good relationship with at the time chuckled after he read my analysis and sort of patted me on the head like I was some kind of overzealous child while informing me that one should always bet on size. My response was simple: Sam Bowie.
What’s more, Bowie made no apologies for his apparent deception. “I’m 51 years old now and my legs are broke down,” he said in the documentary. “I’m very proud, don’t feel like I owe an apology to anyone. The bottom line is: Sam Bowie was drafted before Michael Jordan and you’re gonna have to accept that.”
During the film, which The Oregonian viewed before its release, Bowie admits that he wasn’t entirely forthcoming about the condition of his left leg as he recounted a story about his medical examination in Portland. “I can still remember them taking a little mallet, and when they would hit me on my left tibia, and ‘I don’t feel anything’ I would tell ‘em. But deep down inside, it was hurting,” Bowie said in the documentary. “If what I did was lying and what I did was wrong, at the end of the day, when you have loved ones that have some needs, I did what any of us would have done.”
Is he a forgettable franchise footnote, a 7-foot-1 package of fool’s gold who’s mammoth size and potential convinced the Blazers to draft him ahead of Michael Jordan, who became the NBA’s greatest player? Or is Bowie a calculated liar who deceived the Blazers about his health and covered up the extent of his ailing left leg before the 1984 NBA Draft? “Anybody that knows me, from the hierarchy in the Portland Trail Blazers during my playing days to my teammates to my friends and family, knows I would never deceive or trick or lie to anybody,” Bowie told The Oregonian during a phone interview Wednesday. “I wasn’t raised that way. You can call me a lot of things, but don’t look at me as though I deceived or tricked (the organization). “I thought I would play 15 years and win a couple championships with the Blazers.”
“My discomfort wasn’t to the point where I would say to the Portland Trail Blazers or anyone else, ‘My leg is extremely sore. I wouldn’t draft me. I don’t think I’m going to play a full career in the NBA,’” Bowie told The Oregonian. “That wasn’t the situation at all. The thing that bothers me is that I’m looked upon in some way as a liar. That’s never been my demeanor, my makeup, my character. By no means was I tricking or was it a premeditated position to lie and give somebody damaged goods. To say that I deliberately went into the Portland Trail Blazers’ front office and completely lied to them about my physical being could not be further form the truth.”