Going Big


peabody_2012065dct-arch-c1
Moving Image
DVCPRO HD
Created: 2012

Content

Going Big
Summary: "In high school, Sam Bowie was considered a potential franchise player. Arguably the top recruit in a national class that included Ralph Sampson, James Worthy, Dominique Wilkins and Isaiah Thomas. The 7-foot-1 center out of Pennsylvania got off to a strong start at the University of Kentucky and as a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic basketball team.

"After Bowie resisted pressure to jump early to the NBA, he continued to raise his level of play as a sophomore. But in a game against Vanderbilt late in the regular season, he suffered what would later prove to be a stress fracture in his left leg. Soon plagued by a long recovery that forced him to sit out two consecutive seasons, he struggled to get healthy. Still, Bowie bounced back as a fifth-year senior in 1984 and helped lead Kentucky to the Final Four.

"Just three months later, despite his previous injuries, Bowie was still seen by many as a franchise center when he was selected by Portland with the second overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, just ahead of Michael Jordan. But injuries again limited his success while Jordan helped the NBA reach new heights as perhaps the best player of all-time.

"Bowie actually had a long and relatively productive pro career despite recurring leg injuries, yet he got labeled as a bust because of the lofty expectations. Going Big tells Bowie's story of perseverance and determination. Now a successful horse-owner in Lexington who never let his run of bad fortune deflate his spirit, Bowie has found success and happiness.

"'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, Isaiah 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.' Sam Bowie on his college injuries

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

"'A lot of memories run through your mind. Kid from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, makes it all the way to a program like the University of Kentucky...I'm 51 years old now and my legs are broke down I'm very proud, don't feel like I owe an apology to anyone.' Bowie looking back at his career"--2012 Peabody Awards entry form.

Corporate Producers: ESPN Films | ESPN (Television network) | ESPNU (Television channel)

Broadcast Date: 2012-12-20