Tuesday, October 14, 2014

#documentary Catching up with: Going Big, the Sam Bowie Story


Some athletes their bodies just break down. Injuries pile up and compound each other. Being anywhere close to 100 percent becomes a distant dream. In soccer, I was one of those.



As a Washington football fan, I have winced (sadly, justifiably so) every time quarterback / Subway pitchman / franchise savior RG3 steps on the field. He's an incredible talent, probably more suited for track and field, with an extremely brittle body. A documentary that's been on my "Netflix list" for some time, also available in full on YouTube (below), tells the heroic journey of Sam Bowie. The former Pennsylvania high school phenom and University of Kentucky sophomore sensation has been called one of the biggest draft busts in the history of American sports, since in 1984 he was picked ahead of Michael Jordan.



Despite being out for repeatedly long stretches due to leg injuries, and with his body slowly decaying, even dating back to his high school playing days, Bowie stuck around for more than 500 NBA games. That's many more than another Portland Trail Blazers draft bust, Greg Oden, who has played in just over 100, with even more serious injury problems. Bowie also fought through his father's death at a young age, and the taunting that came with Jordan's growing success.



The gripping, tidy, extremely candid and fast-paced 51-minute film is also about hometowns, and places that accept you as you move along in your life. Should Bowie's jersey have been retired at Kentucky based on his statistics and achievements? Probably not, but the ceremony in his honor was a tribute to his perseverance, loyalty and drive. The documentary paints a noble picture of a very tall man with a broken body who played a sport at a time (80s and 90s) when the talent around him was sensational, and he himself, went from phenom to "bust", but kept at it.

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