The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

SEC Storied: Going Big

104 days ago
SEC Network

"Going Big" chronicles former basketball player Sam Bowie's trying career, which was plagued by injuries in college and the NBA and overshadowed by his draft placement.

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 Isiah 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.

A film by Jon Fish and Tom Friend, "Going Big" features interviews from Bowie's family members, former coaches and teammates, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, John Thompson, Kyle Macy, Joe B. Hall, Ralph Sampson, Jack Ramsay, David Stern and Clyde Drexler, among others.