Freeman: Sam Bowie Denies Lying To Blazers; Blazers Wanted Charles Barkley Over Michael Jordan

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Sam Bowie tries to clarify whether or not he deceived the Portland Trail Blazers about his health prior to the 1984 NBA Draft.

Joe Freeman of The Oregonian has some great quotes in a follow-up story to Tuesday's revelation that former Portland Trail Blazers center Sam Bowie admitted lying to the team about his health prior to the 1984 NBA Draft, in which he was selected No. 2 overall, one spot ahead of Michael Jordan.

Bowie made the following comments in an upcoming ESPN documentary. Quotes via the movie's promotional material.

Sam Bowie on his college injuries: "Every time I looked up, Ralph [Sampson] was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, he was awarded the John Wooden Player of the Year [Award], I watched when Dominique Wilkins left Georgia...James Worthy, Isiah Thomas get drafted. I'm nowhere close to hearing my name called. And looking back on it now when I took off for that last alleyoop that was the last time that I was 100% sound physically. It's been a nightmare ever since that play."

Bowie on being examined by Portland prior to 1984 NBA Draft: "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."

Here's Bowie on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Bowie told The Oregonian that one paragraph out of an hour-long documentary is "being blown out of proportion." Yes his tibia had discomfort. But so did his arms, his shoulders, his hips. His entire body ached.

...

"My discomfort wasn't to the point where I would say to the Portland Trail Blazers or anyone else, ‘My leg is extremely sore. I wouldn't draft me. I don't think I'm going to play a full career in the NBA,'" Bowie told The Oregonian. "That wasn't the situation at all. The thing that bothers me is that I'm looked upon in some way as a liar. That's never been my demeanor, my makeup, my character. By no means was I tricking or was it a premeditated position to lie and give somebody damaged goods. To say that I deliberately went into the Portland Trail Blazers' front office and completely lied to them about my physical being could not be further form the truth."

Also, this from Harry Glickman, head of basketball operations in 1984.

"If you look back at the draft," Glickman said, "if we hadn't selected (Bowie), we wouldn't have selected Jordan. We probably would have gone with Charles Barkley."

Dwight Jaynes of CSNNW.com offered this reaction to Bowie's original comments on Wednesday morning.

I don't blame Sam Bowie for not saying anthing prior to the draft. In fact, often when we're young, we ignore potential health risks, figuring bad stuff really isn't ever going to happen to us and certain aches and pains do have a way of just going away on their own -- particularly when you're young.

I do think, once Bowie was drafted, signed his contract and was playing, he could have been more forthcoming with his doctors and athletic trainers if he had that same pain.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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