The 1984 NBA Draft will go down as one that changed the NBA, the culture of basketball and history of basketball. The Houston Rockets selected Hakeem Olajuwon #1 overall.
Olajuwon did what he was suppose to do, going on to win two NBA Championships and becoming a Hall of Fame inductee. The wrinkle in the draft and basketball’s future came with the 2nd overall pick.
The Portland Trail Blazers were on the clock, and selected 7’1″ and 235 lb center Sam Bowie out of Kentucky. Bowie had productive seasons at Kentucky at eventually earned All American honors as a Junior.
The Blazers would go on to select Bowie with that 2nd overall pick, and pass on big time college stars like Sam Perkins, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton.
The rose of that 84 draft and that man that has since changed the face of basketball and how it was played was selected after Bowie 3rd overall.
Thats right I’m talking about Michael Jeffrey Jordan the 3rd overall pick of the Chicago Bulls out of the University of North Carolina.
Jordan was Naismith and Wooden Award winner in 1984 and probably should have went ahead of Bowie.
Portland chose Bowie based on potential, and the rest is history that has been talked about now for close to 30 years. Yahoo Sports and Kelly Dwyer are reporting that Bowie held onto some pertinent information that might have changed the course of history had it been revealed.
Bowie was suffering from pain in the shin he had badly injured in college, and the same leg that would give him problems throughout his career, preventing him from ever reaching his potential.
“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.”
The history is Bowie played 10 season but is considered the biggest bust in NBA history. Jordan has six rings, is the greatest player to ever lace up sneakers, made the Bulls into a dynasty, and helped make the NBA what it is today.
Would Portland have drafted Jordan had they known about Bowie, who knows. Portland had Clyde Drexler, Jim Paxson, and Kiki Vandeweghe, so we’ll never know.
Portland still is haunted by that secret though.
Bowie will discuss that lie and his untapped potential on a ESPNU documentary title “going big,” on December 20 at 9 p.m.