Sam Bowie is probably best known for being drafted ahead of Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA draft. Bowie was chosen by Portland with the second overall pick, one spot ahead of Jordan. Bowie broke his left leg in 1985 and had, at best, a disappointing NBA career. Jordan went on the become the greatest player in NBA history.
Bowie missed two seasons at Kentucky because of leg injuries but had a strong final season. Of course, if the Trail Blazers had known the day of the draft that Bowie still had a bum leg, they never would have taken him. But who knew? Apparently, Bowie did.
Yahoo Sports obtained footage from an upcoming ESPN documentary on that draft, and Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo's "Ball Don't Lie" blog wrote Tuesday that Bowie says in the film that his leg was in tremendous pain in the days leading up to the draft, but he didn't tell anyone.
"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," Dwyer quotes Bowie as saying. "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."
Bowie also says that even while sitting among his draft class on that night, he knew "deep down inside I physically wasn't what these guys were."