The worst mistake in the history of the NBA draft

The NBA draft is one of the most important events that the Yankee basketball league has: that night, as happened last Wednesday when Leandro Bolmaro was chosen by the New York Knicks and immediately traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the franchises are distributed to the young stars. One by one, from the laziest to the grossest, they make their choices, which can usher in a golden age or turn into a fiasco that they will regret for a lifetime … And if we talk about historical blunders, none beats the one the Portland Trail Blazers sent in the 1984 draft.

It didn’t live up to the expectations they had in Portland.

On June 19, at Madison Square Garden in the Big Apple, pick number one was sung: Hakeem Olajuwon. The 2.13 meter Nigerian pivot came from breaking it in the University of Houston And in an age where big men ruled the NBA, it was coveted by all teams. Until the Chicago BullsThird in order to pick that night, they were willing to grab him if, because of those miracles that often happen in the draft, Olajuwon wasn’t picked in the top two spots. But the obvious finally happened … The Houston Rockets, who had the No. 1 pick, opted for Olajuwon, who would win two titles with the Texans.

In Jordan's job, Portland had Clyde Drexler, who was starting to break her down in the NBA.

In Jordan’s job, Portland had Clyde Drexler, who was starting to break her down in the NBA.

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The second to choose was Portland and quality options he had plenty of: un tal Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley o John Stockton. But lo and behold, the Trail Blazers did not heed one of the draft commandments, always choose the best player available, but they went to fill a need: their staff had a hole in the pivot position. Stu Inman, the general manager, and Jack Ramsay, Coach, they wanted Olajuwon and almost got it … Turns out the No. 1 pick in that draft was defined by a coin! Sure, both Houston and Portland (who had traded that choice with the Indiana Pacers) had the right to choose first and it ended up being defined by chance: a coin was tossed, heads or tails, that ended up landing on the Rockets’ side (Until that draft, that method was used to define who got the 1). So things and without being able to choose the Nigerian pivot, the Trail Blazers were for their second option in that position: Samuel Paul Bowie, 2.16 meters tall and figurine from the University of Kentucky. Finally, third, the Bulls grabbed Jordan and the rest is history.

Along with former commissioner David Stern and Hakeem Olajuwon, the No. 1 pick in the '84 draft.

Along with former commissioner David Stern and Hakeem Olajuwon, the No. 1 pick in the ’84 draft.

Born March 17, 1961 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, SI was 23 that night in June 1984, something big when compared to the jewels that are currently taken in the draft: the first five elections of 2020 are 19 years old … From a basketball father (he played in the Harlem Magicians, a team similar to the Globettroters), from a very young age he stood out with the orange ball. When he was at Lebanon High School, his high school, he broke it, He called himself “the million dollar boy” and they projected him as one of the best pivots of his generation. For that reason, scholarships rained down to him to go to the university and in 1979 he ended up leaning towards Kentucky. His college league start was brilliant: In his rookie season he averaged 12.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game … So good was his level that in 1980 he was called up by the United States team But due to the Yankee boycott of the Olympic Games that year in Moscow, he could not participate in the tournament and had to settle for a friendly tour against NBA figures, where he maintained his good level.

Michael Jordan went to the Bulls and became a legend.

Michael Jordan went to the Bulls and became a legend.

However, the good thing lasted a little … After the 80-81 season, suffered a stress fracture to the left tibia. On top of that, the injury was not in a game but while he was practicing some shots During a photoshoot! He missed two whole years and just returned to play in 83-84 and although his team won the university tournament, his numbers and his performance had dropped. With doubts about his physical condition, before the draft, Portland doctors went to do a checkup: What worried the most was the tibia, since they doubted if it had healed correctly. In the review prior to choosing him, the doctors checked, and even beat, Bowie’s leg and he, as he acknowledged in a documentary, He told them that he felt nothing even though inside he was dying of pain … In fact, the bone never healed well and still causes discomfort today.

At the university level he was a figure.  He never performed at that level in the NBA ...

At the university level he was a figure. He never performed at that level in the NBA …

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Sam’s professional career did not start badly (if not compared to Jordan, who rounded 28.2 points per game), in the 84-85 campaign he played 76 games, averaged 10 points per match, was chosen in the dream team of the rookies and Portland made it to the conference semis in the playoffs. Although that would be one of his few seasons in which he was healthy. In the following years he suffered injury after injury: the left tibia broke again when a partner fell on top of him and in 86 the other tibia broke in a terrifying injury (it was an exposed fracture after putting all his weight on his leg after a bad jump: they ended up placing ten nails). Tired of physical problems Portland ended it by transferring to the New Jersey Nets, where he was until 1993 and although he did not perform as expected, he did not suffer major injuries.

Now he is dedicated to raising racehorses.

Now he is dedicated to raising racehorses.

After two seasons in Los angeles lakers, 93-94 and 94-95 (just the two that Olajuwon won with Houston), Bowie retired, lowered his profile and He went on to dedicate himself to his other passion: horses. He moved to Lexington, Kentucky, and started breeding equines for sled racing and it was better than in the NBA. In 2007, one of his horses, “Before He Cheats,” won more than 18 races and took home $ 300,000 in prize money …

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