I can’t help it. I’ll be watching a Blazers games, and the camera will focus on Greg Oden sitting disinterestedly on the end of the bench. Except that I don’t see Oden. What I see is the ghost of Sam Bowie…and it feels like déjà vu all over again.
Most of us know the story by now. The Blazers had the #1 pick in the 1983 draft. They could have drafted Michael Jordan (just think of the possibilities that might have brought to Puddletown). Instead they drafted Bowie, a gifted center from Kentucky who went on to…raise race horses in the Bluegrass State. Bowie came to Portland amid high hopes and expectation, but his body just wasn’t up to the rigors of the NBA. Among the low points of his medical history as a Blazer was one of the most gruesome leg injuries you’ll ever see. Bowie arrived in Portland as the solution. The problem was that his body just couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain.
Not so very long ago, Blazers fans debated drafting Oden over Kevin Durant (an...