Bruce Bowen isn’t your typical three-time NBA champion. He went undrafted out of Cal State Fullerton and spent time overseas and in the CBA, playing for the Fort Wayne Fury and Rockford Lightning, before getting a shot in the NBA.
The rest is history.
“It does make you appreciate the process of where you’re getting to in life – because I don’t think anybody really has those moments now,” Bowen said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show, referring to his journey. “You have so many kids that are very talented and after one year of college, they’re like, ‘I’m going to go pro now.’ It has nothing to do with their financial situation, (at least for) some of them. It has nothing to do with the college game not being able to offer them more.”
Instead, it has to do with signing that first contract, of wanting to be rich and famous.
“Back in the day when you had guys leave school early, it was because they didn’t want to face a box-and-one and they were truly a man amongst boys,” Bowen said. “You look at Shaq. You look at Chris Webber. You look at Allen Iverson. Those players that I just named, they’re Hall of Fame-(caliber). So now you get this group of kids coming in – and it’s no disrespect to the players that didn’t make it that went high – but you should have stayed in school.”
Take Anthony Bennett, for example. The former Findlay Prep standout spent one year at UNLV before entering the NBA Draft.
“He was the No. 1 draft pick (in 2013), and he’s not even in the NBA right now,” Bowen said. “I just think that so many kids are afraid of what someone may find out about their game that they jump to the NBA because they say, ‘Hey, I’m trying to get to the next level.’ Well, is it better to get to the next level after one year, or is it better to get to the next level maybe after two or three years and have something substantial to offer a team – and not just ‘Oh, he’s a great athlete. Oh, he’s a great athlete’? I’m tired of hearing that word ‘athlete.’ I want to see basketball players. Point. Simple.”