Interview with Sam Bowie, October 20, 2016

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:00 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: Okay, Sam, uh, start out usually, if you would, just state your name and the years you were at UK.

Segment Synopsis: Kyle Macy introduces Sam Bowie and begins the interview. Bowie describes his early life, playing basketball at the YMCA with his father as a coach. He discusses his hometown of Lebanon, Pennsylvania and his growth throughout high school, both physically and as a basketball player.

Keywords: Basketball; Childhood; Coaches; Father; Growing up; Growth; High schools; Lebanon (Pa.); Sports; YMCA

Subjects: Basketball.; Lebanon (Pa.); YMCA of the USA.

00:03:14 - Recruiting in high school

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Partial Transcript: So, um, recruiting then, the process begins. Was--when in your high school career did you start receiving letters and phone calls and those type of things?

Segment Synopsis: Bowie recounts his memories of being recruited by different schools when he was a junior and senior in high school. He describes his visits to several schools, as well as his eventual decision to play for the University of Kentucky (UK).

Keywords: Fans; High schools; Marquette University; Penn State University; Recruiting; Recruits; UK; University of Maryland; University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Subjects: Basketball.; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

00:07:02 - Coming to UK as a freshman

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Partial Transcript: So, as a freshman, when you came in, you were how tall, how how--you, you weren't real--hadn't picked up the strength yet had you?

Segment Synopsis: Bowie describes his time at UK as a freshman preparing for the upcoming basketball season, including his impression of the weight room and the conditioning training that he had to undergo. He discusses the talent level of his recruiting class, as well as the early blue and white games that he played all around the state of Kentucky.

Keywords: Coach Joe B. Hall; College basketball; Conditioning; Discipline; Freshman; Practice; Recruiting; Training; UK

Subjects: Basketball.; Kentucky.; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:11:37 - Freshman season

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Partial Transcript: Well you start the season as a freshman.

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses his freshman basketball season, including his growth with help from the discipline of Joe B. Hall. He discusses his suspension before a game played against the University of Notre Dame, as well as how the senior members of the team helped to lead the underclassmen. He also discusses his first National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament.

Keywords: College basketball; College sports; Confidence; Discipline; Duke University; Joe B. Hall; National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); UK; University of Notre Dame

Subjects: Basketball.; Hall, Joe B. (Joe Beasman); Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:17:40 - Sophomore season

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Partial Transcript: So now you're leading into your sophomore season, um, a, and you bring in Jim Master, Melvin Turpin, Bret Bearup, uh, so some more good players loading up the, the, uh, the coverage, if you will.

Segment Synopsis: Bowie describes the events of his sophomore season at UK, his relationship with Melvin Turpin, and the game between UK and the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB).

Keywords: College basketball; College sports; Melvin Turpin; UK; University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB)

Subjects: Basketball.; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:22:01 - Junior year and injuries

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Partial Transcript: I had left Lexington 'cause I was out playing pro ball at the time, so I kind of lost track of all the details, so, I know the next two seasons you didn't play.

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses his junior year at UK and the stress fracture of his left tibia that led to his inability to play basketball for a time. He discusses the surgeries he went through in order to help his injury, including bone grafts.

Keywords: College basketball; College sports; Fractures; Injuries; Stress fractures; Tibia; UK

Subjects: Basketball.; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:25:00 - Thinking about leaving UK / father's death

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, now, now I, I know there was--had always been discussion, uh, with you and your family, whatever, about possibly leaving, uh, w-after, you know, your first, second year.

Segment Synopsis: Bowie describes his inclination to leave UK to play for the National Basketball Association (NBA) after two years, and his decision to stay at UK and get a degree with his mother's encouragement. He also discusses the death of his father and how much help Coach Joe B. Hall was during that period of his life.

Keywords: College basketball; College sports; Death; Fathers; Joe B. Hall; National Basketball Association (NBA); UK

Subjects: Basketball.; Hall, Joe B. (Joe Beasman); Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:27:18 - Recovering from injuries

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Partial Transcript: Um, so then the second year, you think, "Okay, I've been out a year."

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses his memories of his injuries and the recovery process. He describes how he felt during that time, as well as what procedures had to be done to help him recover. He also discusses the support of Coach Hall throughout his recovery.

Keywords: Bone grafts; Coach Joe B. Hall; Coaches; College basketball; College sports; Fractures; Injuries; Recovery; Stress fractures; UK

Subjects: Basketball.; Hall, Joe B. (Joe Beasman); Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:30:46 - Senior season

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Partial Transcript: Um, so anyway, you then come back your senior year, you're back--percentage wise would you say you were, what?

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses his senior season, his level of play during that time compared to before his injuries, as well as his mental and physical state during that time. He briefly mentions his Sports Illustrated cover photo, as well as his status in the NBA draft.

Keywords: College basketball; College sports; Injuries; National Basketball Association (NBA); Recovery; Sports Illustrated; UK; University of Louisville

Subjects: Basketball.; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:34:07 - Louisville and Georgetown games

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk about two particular games from that senior season you, a, and you mentioned the first one: the Louisville game.

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses two basketball games from his senior season that were especially important. He describes both games and how the team played in each, as well as why they performed how they did.

Keywords: College basketball; College sports; Georgetown University; Patrick Ewing; Rivalry; UK; University of Louisville (UofL)

Subjects: Basketball.; Georgetown University; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky; University of Louisville

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:40:28 - Pride and UK

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Partial Transcript: As you look back, what do you feel like you're most proud of, um, of your time at the University?

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses what he is most proud of from his time at UK.

Keywords: Citizens; College basketball; College sports; Pride; UK

Subjects: Basketball.; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:41:11 - 1980 Olympics

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Partial Transcript: After the season, uh, and this is kind of a sore point for me, but we'll talk about it.

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses the 1980 Olympics and his placement on the Olympic basketball team. He describes his disappointment at the boycott of the Olympics by President Jimmy Carter.

Keywords: Boycotts; College basketball; College sports; Jimmy Carter; Olympic basketball; President Carter; Soviet Union; UK

Subjects: Basketball.; Carter, Jimmy, 1924-; Lexington (Ky.); Olympics.; University of Kentucky

00:42:37 - The Kentucky tradition

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Partial Transcript: What's your response when you're asked about the Kentucky tradition?

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses what he thinks of as the Kentucky tradition, and how he believes that Kentucky is the "measuring stick."

Keywords: "Measuring stick"; Coach Cal; College basketball; College sports; John Calipari; Tradition; UK

Subjects: Basketball.; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:43:14 - Joe B. Hall

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Partial Transcript: Um, talk a little bit about--and you have some, but maybe a little bit more detail even, about, uh, Joe B. Hall the coach and Joe B. Hall the man.

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses Joe B. Hall both in his coaching and as a person. He describes the discipline that he received from Hall as a coach and the support that Hall gave him off the court during hard times.

Keywords: College basketball; College sports; Discipline; Joe B. Hall; UK

Subjects: Basketball.; Hall, Joe B. (Joe Beasman); Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:46:07 - Kenny Walker

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Partial Transcript: Um, talk about Kenny Walker.

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses his relationship with Kenny Walker, who was a freshmen when Bowie was a senior at UK.

Keywords: College basketball; College sports; Kenny Walker; UK

Subjects: Basketball.; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:47:55 - Being drafted before Michael Jordan

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Partial Transcript: Um, so after your college career you, uh, were drafted, you talked about that.

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses his NBA draft and the fact that he was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers before Michael Jordan. He describes why he thinks that happened and how he responds to people who talk to him about it.

Keywords: Michael Jordan; NBA draft; National Basketball Association (NBA); UK; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Basketball.; Jordan, Michael; National Basketball Association.; Portland Trail Blazers (Basketball team)

00:49:04 - Injuries in the NBA

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Partial Transcript: Um, a--unfortunately the injury bug hit again. Kind of walk through that time frame, that time period of how all of that came about.

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses his time in the NBA and the injuries that occurred while he was playing. He discusses the treatments for these injuries, as well as how the injuries occurred. He goes on to discuss his offer from the Lakers to stay on as a backup to Shaquille O'Neal, which he declined.

Keywords: Basketball; Injuries; Los Angeles Lakers; National Basketball Association (NBA); Professional basketball; Recovery; Shaq; Shaquille O'Neal; Surgery

Subjects: Los Angeles Lakers (Basketball team); O'Neal, Shaquille.; Portland Trail Blazers (Basketball Team)

00:53:05 - Activities after retirement

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Partial Transcript: Um, well when you came home, involved in the community, but one thing you got involved with, uh, was the UK radio network for a couple years.

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses his activities after his retirement, including his time working with the UK radio station and working with horse racing.

Keywords: Basketball; College basketball; College sports; Horse racing; Horses; Radio; Radio hosts; Retirement; UK; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Kentucky.; Lexington (Ky,)

00:55:22 - "Crazy" Kentucky fans

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Partial Transcript: Um, there's a lot of talk about, as Coach Cal calls them now, the "crazy" Kentucky fans.

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses what he thinks of the term "crazy" Kentucky fans. He also describes an anecdote of someone he refers to as a "crazy" Kentucky fan.

Keywords: Coach Cal; College basketball; College sports; Fanatics; Fans; John Calipari; UK

Subjects: Basketball.; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:56:53 - Classes at UK

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Partial Transcript: Um, let's talk a little bit about your time on campus.

Segment Synopsis: Bowie discusses his classes at UK, the policies of the UK basketball program for their athletes in regard to classes, as well as the discipline of Coach Joe B. Hall should any of his players decide to skip classes.

Keywords: Basketball players; Classes; Coach Hall; College basketball; College sports; Discipline; Education; Joe B. Hall; Stationary bikes; UK

Subjects: Basketball.; Hall, Joe B. (Joe Beasman); Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5
00:58:54 - Legacy / best memories at UK

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Partial Transcript: Fifty, forty, sixty, whatever it is, years from now, how, how do you hope to be remembered from the Kentucky fans, or the Kentucky fan base, or for your years at Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Bowie describes how he wants to be remembered by Kentucky fans moving into the future. He also points out some of his most poignant memories from his time at UK.

Keywords: College basketball; College sports; Legacy; Lexington (Ky.); Memories; UK

Subjects: Basketball.; Kentucky.; University of Kentucky

GPS: University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.033333, -84.5