A two-time All-American, Sam Bowie is a Kentucky legend. He spent five years in Lexington, played in a Final Four and still ranks among the top-10 shot blockers and rebounders in school history. Nevertheless, Bowie is better remembered by the sports world at-large for a series of injuries that undermined the 7-footer’s limitless potential.
On Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU, ESPN Films will provide a more nuanced look at Bowie’s career. As part of the SEC Storied series, “Going Big” will dig deep into Bowie’s story, from the Portland Trail Blazers selecting him second overall in the draft in 1984 to his final NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1994-95.
When he was first approached about the film, Bowie was reticent to participate. Ultimately, Bowie became convinced that director Tom Friend would paint a fair portrait.
“I would hope that (viewers) would take away that this Sam Bowie kid was relentless and he had no quit in him,”Bowie said in an interview with ESPN Front Row. “Never give up. And I don’t think that’s a characteristic that can be taught. I think when they talk about God-given talent, that’s one quality that’s never really brought up. They talk about speed and how high one can jump and he’s a freak of nature in regards to being an athlete. But you either have the “never give up” gene or you don’t.”
Bowie was there for a private premiere showing of the film on Monday on the UK campus. There, Bowie spoke about the film. Listen to some of his comments in the video below.
For more on the film, here are a few stories that have been written about it this week.
- Bowie’s injury-plagued career gets a second opinion in ESPNU documentary (Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader)
- ESPN doc focuses on Bowie’s life, basketball and beyond (Aaron Smith, CatsIllustrated.com)
- ‘Bowie Over Jordan’: A new look at the pick that still haunts Portland NBA fans (Tom Goldman, NPR)
- Bowie hits ‘big’ screen (Pat Huggins, Lebanon Daily News)
Remember to flip on ESPNU Thursday at 9 p.m. to watch “Going Big.”