Blazers GM Didn’t Listen to Coach Bob Knight’s Advice to Select Michael Jordan Instead of Sam Bowie in 1984
The biggest draft mistake in the NBA history is when the Portland Trail Blazers selected Sam Bowie as the second pick instead of Michael Jordan. Jordan went on to play for the Chicago Bulls and became known as the greatest of all time.
Many people don’t realize that the Portland Trail Blazers had the chance to make the correct decision. If the Blazers’ general manager, Stu Inman, had simply listened to the famous coach Bob Knight from Indiana, they would have chosen Michael Jordan.
Bob Knight asked the Blazers GM to draft Michael Jordan
“Bobby Knight, who’d coached MJ at the ’84 Olympic trials, urged Blazers GM Stu Inman (an old pal) to take Jordan. Inman said, ‘But we need a center.’ Knight yelled back, ‘So play him at center!’ Inman didn’t listen, and the result is a jaw-dropping scene,” Bill Simmons wrote for ESPN.
Michael Jordan became the best ever, winning six championships with the Bulls. He also earned six Finals MVPs and five MVPs. On the other hand, Sam Bowie played in the NBA for 10 seasons but never became an All-Star. His career was heavily affected by injuries.
Jordan played for Coach Bob Knight in the 1984 USA Olympics Team. They won the gold medal, and Jordan scored the most points for the team. He averaged 17.1 points per game in the Olympics, and Coach Knight was very impressed by him.
Sam Bowie lied to get picked over Jordan
One small decision can make a big difference for an NBA team, and the Blazers had a tough time because they didn’t choose Michael Jordan. They haven’t won a championship since 1977. However, maybe it’s not entirely their fault because Bowie didn’t tell them the truth about his health before they picked him.
“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,” he said.
The Blazers will always wonder what would have happened if Michael Jordan had been selected. He transformed the struggling Chicago Bulls into a winning club. When they had the chance, they should have listened to Knight.