Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 at 11:15 am  |  34 responses

Sam Bowie Lied About Injuries Before He Was Drafted Ahead of Michael Jordan

The first sentence in Sam Bowie’s obit, undoubtedly, will reference that he was infamously drafted second overall by the Portland Trailblazers in 1984 when Michael Jordan was available. Bowie, whose NBA career was derailed by chronic foot and leg injuries, confesses that he was less than honest about the state of his health coming into the League. Per the upcoming documentary “Going Big“, set to air December 20 on ESPNU (via BDL): “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. 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.’ [...] There’s a fractured shin in college that went undiagnosed for months. Then there’s the admission that he hid pain from Portland doctors before the draft. And then on draft night, with Houston already having selected Hakeem Olajuwon first overall and Jordan off at Team USA’s training camp in preparation for the 1984 Olympics, the Blazers made what was considered the obvious choice. With an All-Star small forward in Jim Paxson already on the roster, and a promising young shooting guard in Clyde Drexler set to take in a minutes increase at shooting guard, they chose Bowie. And Bowie, speaking in 2012, relayed that even while sitting amongst his draft class on that night, he knew that something was wrong. That, ‘deep down inside I physically wasn’t what these guys were.’”

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  • http://twitter.com/DPisWill DePaul Williams

    ummm….ok? lol

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    oh man, how much do you think you can make an entire city hate you Sam? is that what you are trying to find out?

  • Rockwell

    Damn, I wonder how many of us would have done the same thing had we been facing the same situation. What would we have done if we were THIS close to making our lifelong dream, but also THIS close to losing it forever? But then again, maybe if he was more forthcoming with his injuries, maybe he would have been able to get treatment for his injuries and maybe his career would have played out differently.

  • Max

    This would never happen nowadays.

  • Mackenzie

    Portland can’t catch a break with draft picks man, I hope Lillard stays healthy cause he has a chance to be a superstar

  • bike

    Sometimes, it’s best to keep certain things to yourself. I think this qualifies.

  • Seth

    Athletes mask their injuries and pain all the time. Or are you talking drafts?

  • Comment_System

    I think he means its easier to find out about player injuries now than how it was then.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    it’s sarcasm.

  • MikeC.

    Can’t blame him. I understand why he did it and I understand the guilt. Dude feels so bad that he didn’t dominate, or even have a solid career.

  • spit hot fiyah

    maybe another thing that bowie and oden have in common

  • shockexchange

    Sam wasn’t the only one who knew that “physically he wasn’t what these guys were.” The Shock Exchange thought Houston and Portland were out they rabbit $%&*#@! minds for passing up on Jordan.

  • roscoe

    Sam Bowie is absolutely pissing in the wind coming clean with this, but he should add an APOLOGY to the fans.

  • pops

    Houston made the right choice. Portland already had Drexler. It’s not like teams could predict the future.

  • roscoe

    technology has improved significantly. have you read about the NFL’s combine?

  • Zabbah

    Don’t blame Bowie too much for lying. Drexler went on record saying he wanted Jordan. Doesn’t matter to him if he’s already a SG, he just wanted Jordan on the team. Of course, Blazers GM thought one all star SG was enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/francis.aboy Francis Aboy

    Him and Oden. After Oden’s dismal career he probably did the same. Since it’s Portland, they can do it at the same time.

  • Max

    Drafts see the Sullysaurus (Jared).

  • Max

    U could say that with Greg Oden etc in mind, but I ment like look at Sully for example, I don’t think he would have slipped back in the 80′s.

  • Max


  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    None of those are examples of the player saying he’s injured. Those were all discovered by doctors. — Greg Oden did suspiciously start experiencing discomfort in his knee right after the draft. So it’s fair to assume that 2007 may have been a reenactment of history

  • RayJr

    You’ve gotta put some blame on the team doctors and whoever gave him passes through physicals. They had to catch at least some wincing of pain in the workouts

  • roscoe

    that conspiracy talk holds no water w/ me unless you are speaking of the commishs magic wand.

  • Max

    Well maybe it’s just a Portland thing..

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    haha that’s the joke

  • Seth

    I suppose things have improved with regards to detecting and diagnosing. Seems like nowadays every injury can put a guy on the shelf for months. Teams are being very cautious now.

  • The Philosopher

    My guy, Josh Boone, told me about how he didn’t talk to officials about his shoulder injury leading up to the Draft. And when he told the Nets about the injury after they drafted him, they became pissed at him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.bankston Sean Bankston

    I heard a story that the Portland GM called Bob Knight and asked him who he should take with his #2 pick. Knight responded “Jordan, no question.” The GM replies that we need a Center, which led Knight to famously utter “Well draft Jordan and play him at Center.”

  • LLC#12

    Depending on how far his stock would of fallen, I might have done the same. If it’s a choice between being drafted or not, I would lie about an injury, hands down. In contrast, if I thought I could still get drafted then I would outright tell people about my injuries so that I would go to a team that would understand the issues but, like I said, if the choice is between achieving a dream (reaching the NBA) and achieving nothing, I’d lie…though I definitely wouldn’t tell anyone I had lied, cause that is just really f***ing stupid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sajjatam Sajjatam Tp Kulsomboon

    The Blazers have just the worst luck in all of the NBA.

  • RunNGun

    BREAKING NEWS: Greg Oden did too before being drafted ahead of Kevin Durant.

  • RunNGun

    Geebus! When are these reporters going to learn? If you want him to answer the questions, bring the man some Pringles, d@MN it!

  • RunNGun

    Whoops! Wrong topic folks…

  • http://twitter.com/Neitel_17 Nathan Agosto

    damn, portland just misses another great pick in Durant, a pick that could have taken them deep into the western conference finals, finals or even a ‘chip…wow. But dont worry Blazers, I think you have struck gold in Damian Lillard.