Culture Fail—Will the Trailblazers ever get it right? Guest Writer Cristina Himka
As Oregonians, I am sure most of remember the 1984 draft where the Portland Trailblazers missed their opportunity to have the NBA’s all-time points per game leader Michael Jordan as their shooting guard. Of course, looking back, it was hard to know what the future had in store for Michael Jordan or the player the Trailblazers chose, Sam Bowie. Unfortunately, Sam Bowie proved to be a bad choice after he broke his leg and had lingering leg problems after. Bowie only scored an average of 7 points per game meanwhile Michael Jordan had an average of 30 points per game, won 6 NBA championships, and was the MVP for the finals all six times his team won.
Granted, these two players are not the same position. The Trailblazers chose Sam Bowie because he was a center and that was the position that needed filling. However, if the management had been more open-minded, they would have realized that drafting Michael Jordan would have made the team stronger and they could have found someone else from another team to bring in to be the center they needed.
So, okay, let’s forgive the Trailblazers about Jordan. Although, didn’t we just pass on Kevin Durant as well? Kevin Durant was part of the 2007 NBA draft and the Trailblazers passed on him for Greg Oden. Greg Oden was a great player, but no one ever could have predicted that he had bad knees and would be continuously put on the sidelines for injuries. On the other hand, Durant is now part of the 2012 Olympic USA basketball team alongside LeBron James and Kobe Bryant—together making up the closest team to the original “Dream Team” consisting of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Charles Barkley just to name a few.
So let’s recap. The Portland Trailblazers, a team that has not won the NBA championship since 1977 and hasn’t been to the finals since 2003, could have had two of the greatest players in basketball history. Instead we got Greg Oden and Sam Bowie, whose combined career points are 6,337 whereas Kevin Durant has already scored 9978 points in the five years he has played and Michael Jordan totaled 32292 points in his basketball career.
Perhaps we can blame this on a curse; the Trailblazers have an omen that will forever keep them picking the wrong player. Though, maybe it’s about time that the coaches and management start to realize that their first choice instinct isn’t always correct. Let’s rebuild Blazermania and go with the not so obvious choice next time, boys.