One of the biggest draft day blunders in any sport is the Portland Trail Blazers picking Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan.

Bowie made the NBA All-Rookie team, his lone accolade, while Jordan won six championships in Chicago en route to becoming the greatest basketball player in history.

And the Bulls knew one month in advance of the draft that Portland wouldn't pick MJ.

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But first, we have to start at the Bulls mindset and whether or not they wanted to draft a guard at all. Enter former Bulls general manager Rod Thorn, the man who drafted MJ.

"We had decided quite a bit before the draft that if Jordan were there, we'd take Jordan. If [Hakeem] Olajuwon somehow got to three, we'd take Olajuwon but obviously that was not going to happen," Thorn told David Kaplan on his radio show.

"The only question was what was Portland going to do," Thorn said.

So, Thorn wanted to know if one of them would fall to him and Trail Blazers GM Stu Inman showed the Bulls his hand.

"Stu Inman... told me a month before the draft that if Sam Bowie passed the physical they were going to take him," Thorn recalled. "About a week before the draft, I called Inman and asked him had Bowie taken the physical and he said 'yes.' And I asked him did he pass it and he said 'yes.'"


The Bulls knew a month in advance of the draft that Jordan would fall to them if Houston took Olajuwon.

A month!

Simply incredible, no need for the Bulls to trade up to secure the greatest basketball player of all time.

"Unless somebody traded ahead of us or they changed their minds.... we knew we were going to get Jordan," Thorn said.

At that time, big men were valued more highly than smaller players so their desire to get Bowie can someone be understood in the moment but hindsight does them no favors.

"I knew we had a really good piece after we had our five or six day training camp. He was clearly our best player right from the start," Thorn said.

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