Sam Bowie, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft, has been and will always be remembered as the guy who was drafted in front of Michael Jordan.
In the upcoming documentary Going Big, set to air on December 20 on ESPNU, Bowie says he lied to the Portland Trail Blazers before the draft that year, according to USA Today.
Bowie’s 10-year NBA career was one that was filled with injuries and lofty expectations that were never reached.
“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,” Bowie said. “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.”
The Portland Blazers were willing to take a risk on the big man. Bowie had a history of shin injuries. He missed two full seasons while at Kentucky.
In his sophomore year Bowie averaged 17.4 points a game, but in his fifth year as a senior his averaged dipped to just 10.5 points per contest.
The Blazers’ need for a center with aging Bill Walton on the team and the Houston Rockets selecting hall of fame center Hakeem Olajuwon with the number one overall pick left the Blazers with a difficult decision. They did what they thought was best.
Bowie finished his career averaging 10.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game compared to Jordan’s 30.1 points and 6.2 rebounds a game.
In 2005, ESPN, citing Bowie’s injury-laden college career, named the Blazers’ choice of Bowie as the worst draft pick in North American professional sports history.
That same year, Sports Illustrated listed Bowie as the biggest draft bust in NBA history, arguing that teams should draft for talent and not need.
Follow Marquise Francis on Twitter @mKfly