Sam Bowie

Where Did The Week Go…


In a new ESPN Films documentary entitled “Going Big,” which premieres next week on ESPNU, former Trail Blazer center Sam Bowie admitted that leading up to the 1984 draft, he may have misled Blazers doctors regarding his health.

“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,” Bowie said in the documentary. “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.”

In an interview with The Oregonian on Wednesday, Bowie denied lying to Portland about the validity of his injuries before the ’84 draft and said one paragraph out of the hour-long documentary was blown out of proportion.

Portland’s had a run of bad luck when it comes to centers.

I’m too young to have experienced the Sam Bowie era in Portland, (although my generation essentially relived it with Greg Oden), so hearing this news doesn’t really bother me. It happened. Portland picked Bowie over Michael Jordan. It was the worst draft decision in sports history (Boy do I sound bitter), but after all these years, I don’t really blame Bowie for seeing a way to help his family financially, I blame the Blazers medical staff for choosing him in the first place.

Like any potential draft prospect, Bowie went through the necessary tests during his pre-draft examination. Every conceivable way to determine how strong his bones were and if any previous injuries would linger were apparently done. In the end, team doctor Robert Cook okayed Bowie’s health.

But the thing is, you can do all the tests in the world and not really know who’s going to stay healthy and who isn’t. Sometimes it’s just bad luck. Grant Hill was healthy throughout his college career and his first six years in Detroit before missing 374 out of 574 games over seven seasons in Orlando due to injury. In the case of Sam Bowie, it wasn’t bad luck. They should have just seen the warning signs in college.

Bowie missed two seasons in college due to severe injuries to his shinbone. He’d actually developed leg trouble as early as high school. But the Blazers team of doctors chose to ignore the history because Portland needed a center to complement Clyde Drexler, Jim Paxson and Kiki Vandeweghe.

So the news of Bowie lying or not lying about being healthy at that time is irrelevant at this point. Should he have been more forthcoming regarding his injuries, absolutely. But it was up to the trained medical professionals to look beyond the data and science and look at the history. What’s that quote about history repeating itself?

Unusual Baby Names of 2012

The folks over at Baby Center revealed their list of the strangest baby names of the year. With nearly half a million parents sharing, the world is now able to see the truly unusual (perhaps horrible) mistakes they’ve made.

Here’s a few of my personal favorites for each gender.

Girls: Ace (perhaps they love the hardware store.)

Jagger (One of Mick’s many children?)

Juju (After the candy from that Seinfeld episode?)

Excel (Somebody loves spreadsheets!)

Thinn (I could go somewhere with this one but I won’t.)

Yoga (Teaching a healthy lifestyle way too early.)

And here’s a few more: Admire, Fedora, Gilmore, Jazzy, Jury, Oasis, Rogue, Sesame and Shoog.

That baby looks like a Yoga.

Boys: Alpha (I can already tell this guy’s gonna be a cocky son of a B.)

Ball (Your potential first word can’t be your name.)

Drifter (The unemployment rate is high enough as it is.)

Espn (I love sports too but come on!)

Turbo (This guy better be an Olympic sprinter.)

Thunder (This guy better play for the Oklahoma City Thunder.)

Vice (Should the name of your son be a word that refers to a bad habit?)

There’s so many more: Bond, Burger, Casanova, Four, Google, Hurricane, Jedi, Legacy, Popeye and Tron.

So the next time you scoff at a celebrity naming their baby Apple, Moses or Pilot Inspektor, remember that there are just as many ordinary people doing the exact same thing.

Netflix Instant Pick: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

What if Santa really was real? What if instead of being a jolly-old man eager to spread Christmas cheer, he was an evil bastard who punished and tortured any children who were even remotely naughty during the year?

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale presents this very unusual, but kind of intriguing scenario. In Northern Finland, an archaeologist has unearthed Santa’s apparent evil underground lair. You would think the children in the small town would be excited to know Santa really exists. But as I said earlier, Santa kind of dislikes children so one-by-one, they all start to disappear.

Rare Exports
A strange and unique take on the Santa fable.

A young boy and his father, who just happens to hunt reindeer, accidentally capture who they think could be old Saint Nick. Wanting to earn money for their small town, the two of them try to sell him to the corporation sponsoring the dig. But Santa’s evil (and very naked) elves will do anything to free their notorious leader.

At a lean 84 minutes, Rare Exports doesn’t run long enough for viewers to determine what it is. It can’t quite decide whether it wants to be a straight up Christmas horror movie or an unusual holiday fable about the spirit of Christmas. There’s a small amount of violence, perhaps the most amount of full-frontal male nudity I’ve ever seen in a film and a little language.

And yet despite all of that, it still comes off as kind of a sweet holiday film that tackles father and son issues, believing in things unimaginable and lifting the spirits of children. The last scene in particular is very “Christmasy” and a little unusual considering the tone of the rest of the film.

But If you’re a little tired of the same holiday films every year and want something completely original and strange, Rare Exports is worth a look.

CALM Act Finally Goes into Affect

On December 15, 2010, President Obama signed a bill into law that was long overdue. On Thursday, that law finally went into affect. The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act, which was introduced to Congress by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), says that TV stations, cable operators, satellite TV providers or other multichannel video program distributors must apply standard audio levels to commercials transmitted to viewers.

In other words, every time you’re sitting down enjoying a fine episode of Jeopardy, you don’t have to worry about suddenly being jolted out of your recliner by ads for the GAP or Outback Steakhouse.

When Brick Tamland says it’s too loud, it’s too loud.

Congresswoman Eshoo said that it was by far the most popular bill she’d ever sponsored in her 18-year career in the house. Of course it was. Millions of Americans can’t be bothered with the notion of searching for the remote to either mute or lower the volume when commercials come on.

Individually, we probably all thought we were crazy when advertisements would be louder than the programs we were watching. And then finally, two years ago we all heard the news about the CALM Act being introduced and collectively we all said, “I’m not crazy. Other people notice it too.”

Where Did The Week Go…


This past Thursday the NBA draft came and went. Following the five hour player crap-shoot; writers, bloggers, “experts,” and prognosticators began grading the draft. The Portland Trail Blazers seem to have done well as they were graded anywhere from a “B” to an “A+.”

Portland got what they wanted, a point guard in Damian Lillard and a center in Meyers Leonard, but like every team in the league, they won’t truly know how well these picks will pan out for a few years. Every NBA team has their fair share of “my bad” picks, but the Trail Blazers have a long history of making “Wow, could have won a lot of championships with that guy, instead took that guy picks.”

You’re clapping now. Let’s wait a couple of years to see if you still have that same level of enthusiasm.

It dates all the way back to 1972 when Portland selected LaRue Martin with the number one pick. Martin would play four seasons in his career (all with Portland) averaging a whopping 5.3 points per game. At the ripe old age of 25, Martin decided to hang it up.

The two players Portland passed up to take Martin: future Hall-of-Famer and scoring machine Bob McAdoo who went second, and ABA/NBA legend and also future Hall-of-Famer Julius Erving who was selected at number 12.

In 1976, Portland again had the opportunity to snatch up not one, but two future Hall-of-Famers and again failed. Instead of taking Adrian Dantley at five, Portland selected some white dude named Wally Walker who would play 75 games over two seasons for Portland. Dantley would play in six All Star games and score more than 23,000 points in his career. Oops!!!

That same draft Portland took two of the three best players in the disbanded ABA Dispersal Draft: Moses Malone and Maurice Lucas. They kept Lucas who would go on to have a solid NBA career with Portland including help lead them to their only NBA title in 1977.

But the better of the two players, Moses Malone, would be dealt to the Buffalo Braves. Malone was a three-time league MVP and twelve-time NBA All Star. Imagine Portland having Malone, Dantley, Lucas and Bill Walton on the same team. Pretty safe to assume they would have won multiple titles with that group.

In 1978 Portland again had the number one pick. (Ah the good old days when you could win a championship and the following year get the top pick in the draft). The Trail Blazers selected Mychal Thompson with their pick. Thompson would go on to have a solid career with Portland averaging around 17 points-per-game and shoot 50%. But when you’re selected first, your career should be better than “solid.” A guy they could have selected that year, someone named Larry Bird. Ouch!!

Now we fast forward to 1984. You knew it was coming. That fateful year the Blazers made not only their worst pick in franchise history, but really the worst draft decision in NBA history. At number two Portland selected Kentucky Center Sam Bowie. With pick number three, Chicago drafted some guy named Michael Jordan.

Two centers with bones made of glass.

The excuse for not taking Jordan was that Portland needed a big man. They had already taken Clyde Drexler the year before and didn’t need another scoring guard. You already know Jordan’s resume. Bowie would go on to play five seasons with Portland. The last three years he would play a grand total of 25 games or 10% of Portland’s total games over a three year period. Here’s a thought, don’t draft a walking chandelier who missed two full seasons of college due to injuries.

So up to this point Portland either picked the right guy and traded him (Malone) or picked the wrong guy (Martin, Walker, Thompson, Bowie) and saw the better guy (Dantley, Bird, Jordan) go on to have great careers. In 1986 Portland again picked the right guy, but they didn’t see him for a decade.

Arvydas Sabonis was selected in the first round by Portland. Unable to come over to the states because he was still under contract with the Soviets, Sabonis would lead his Olympic team to the 1988 gold medal at the age of 23. Once Russia fragmented in 1989 and Sabonis was allowed to leave the country, he shockingly signed with Spain instead of joining the Blazers.

Sabonis could do it all: run, jump, shoot from anywhere and pass as well as any big man who has ever played the game. By the time he arrived in Portland in 1995, Sabonis was 31. His knee and foot injuries over the years sapped his quickness. The young spry immortal was replaced by a lumbering caveman who could only lightly jog up and down the court.

I wish we had gotten the center on the left.

Sabonis did play a key role on the 2000 Blazer team that got to the Western Conference Finals, but imagine if he had come over in the late ’80s. Those entertaining, high-scoring Blazer teams featuring Drexler, Terry Porter, Jerome Kersey and Buck Williams made it to the finals in ’90 and ’92 with Kevin Duckworth at center. Replace Duck with one of the greatest centers of that era and those finals outcomes could have gone a little differently.

From ’86 to ’06, Portland had mostly mediocre drafts but it was because they were always making the playoffs and therefore never had a high draft pick. They did get Cliff Robinson in the second round in ’89 but their first round picks consisted of players like James Robinson, Shawn Respert, Chris Anstey and Erick Barkley.

They did draft Jermaine O’Neal right out of high school in ’96. But he sat on the bench for four years and eventually they traded him for veteran Dale Davis. O’Neal went on to make six straight All Star games for the Indiana Pacers.

In 2005, Portland had the third pick in the draft and decided to trade down and obtained the six pick. If they had kept the third pick, they could have taken either Deron Williams or Chris Paul. Instead they took high schooler Martell Webster. In five season with the Blazers, Webster showed flashes of great ability, but he could never consistently put it together. Williams and Paul on the other hand have been arguably the two best point guards in the NBA over that time period.

Another star Blazer who couldn’t stay healthy.

The ’06 draft was the one year Portland did everything right. They obtained the two best players in that year’s draft (LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy) and they got both of them in draft day trades. Until knee injuries ended his career, Roy was the best player Portland had since Clyde Drexler. Aldridge is currently Portland’s best player and last year made his first All Star game.

The 2007 draft will unfortunately rank up there with the ’84 draft as one of Portland’s worst. Instead of taking three-time scoring champion and recent NBA Finals participant Kevin Durant, the Blazers took Greg Oden. Oden hasn’t stepped foot on an NBA court since December of 2009 and probably won’t again until 2013. He played 82 games in five seasons for Portland. Durant has missed only fourteen games in five years for the Thunder.

So as you can see, Portland has made a few bad decisions in the draft. Of course every NBA team can say the same thing, but Portland’s in particular have been highly noted. With every pick you make, there’s going to be what ifs.

Like in ’84 when they drafted Bowie out of necessity, they did the same this year in filling holes at point guard and center. Right now they look like the right picks. But as history has shown us, wait a couple of years and then decide whether or not this year’s draft grade deserves a high score.