By Roy Afable
Three-time NBA Champion and Spurs Legend Bruce Bowen is here in Manila to join Pinoy hoops fans for live viewing of the 2018 NBA Finals from June 1 – 4. He will also be doing some charity while in the country as part of the NBA Cares program.
A tough lockdown defender, he has battled against some of the most athletically gifted players during his 12-year career in the NBA. Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James, just to name a few, have gone toe-to-toe with Bowen at the time. But there’s one player that gave the former San Antonio Spurs Forward a run for his money on the hardcourt – Michael Jordan.
Bowen spoke of how difficult it was going up against player of His Airness’ caliber. “You try to be physical with him as Detroit [Pistons] did. He didn’t wanna complain, he went and got stronger,” explained Bowen. “Then he watched where double teams are coming from so he can attack a certain area and set a player – for Steve Kerr to knock down the big shot.”
“Or, okay you gonna guard me one on one. I know a place where it’s harder for you to double team and that’s the middle of the floor. So, he isolates at the middle of the floor and gets to a shot and we saw what he did to Bryon Russell,” the Spurs Legend added.
Clearly, what made Michael Jordan a six-time NBA Champion, six-time NBA Finals MVP, five-time NBA Regular Season MVP, fourteen-time NBA All-Star and a Hall of Famer, is that he was a student of the game.
“Michael Jordan was a guy that was a student of the game and he understood exactly what was going on even before a rotation could take place,” Bowen said. “That happened because he was such a polished player and such a player that saw so many different types of defense.”
“I think students of the game are able to study and understand those little intricacies of the game and become better.”