Sam Bowie

Quick Hits

Position: Center


  • Lebanon High School (Pennsylvania)
  • University of Kentucky
  • Portland Trail Blazers (1984-1989)
  • New Jersey Nets (1989-1993)
  • Los Angeles Lakers (1993-1995)


  • Averaged 28 points and 18 rebounds per game in high school.
  • McDonald’s All-American
  • Parade All-American
  • High School Player of the Year (over Ralph Sampson, 1980)
  • United States Olympic Men’s Basketball Team out of high school (last player with no college or professional basketball experience to make the Olympic squad, and probably the last)
  • 3rd Team All-American as a Sophomore at Kentucky.
  • 2nd pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, picked over Michael Jordan
  • Averaged 10.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.78 blocks per game for his career.

Like most RFP’s, fans of the team the RFP played for remember him the best. Blazer fans will never forget Bowie that’s for sure.

In the 1984 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets selected Hakeem Olajuwon with the first pick. The Portland Trail Blazers then selected Bowie over North Carolina shooting guard Michael Jordan with the second pick. Everyone knows the story: Jordan was drafted by the Bulls with the third pick and won five MVP’s and six championships becoming one of the greatest players in basketball history. It is also notable that Bowie was drafted over Charles Barkley and John Stockton as well.

Portland’s draft decision is regarded by ESPN as the worst in the history of sports (link). Sports Illustrated called Bowie the biggest NBA draft bust in a 2005 list, arguing that teams should not draft according to current need but to a player’s potential. Bowie is considered a bust mostly because of Jordan’s amazing NBA career. However, Bowie was a logical pick on paper given that the Trail Blazers had just picked a shooting guard the previous year: Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler. (wikipedia)

  • In his rookie year, Bowie played in 76 games and averaged 10 point and 8.6 rebounds per game.
  • Over the next four seasons, injuries limited Bowie to 63 games including missing the entire 1987-88 season.
  • Bowie was traded to the Nets for Buck Williams.
  • Bowie retired from the NBA in 1995 because of injuries during his stay with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Big Blue’s history on “The Pick

(Photo: ESPN)

While searching for Bowie online I found this blog to be very intriguing. It chronicles The Tallest People Ever with Bowie making the 7’1”-7’2” list. There are some great RFP’s in the blog.

Bowie remains positive to this day: Portland Tribune article

He also is a racing horse owner (Link)

As long as we are talking about the Blazers, here are some sick Clyde Drexler dunks for your entertainment:

>>Return to RFP Homepage


One Response to “Sam Bowie”

  1. phillip howrd Says:

    never forgotten just overlooked by others than UK fans.

    Phillip Howard

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