The NBA is heavily a stats driven league with a number of players caring more about their numbers than winning games. You can’t blame them as it brings them more popularity, fame, and money at the end of the day. But you have to be slick and natural with it because it can look pretty ugly when you force it. Anthony Bowie learned that the hard way.
On March, 9th 1996, the Orlando Magic hosted the Detroit Pistons in a regular-season game. Bowie got the start instead of the injured Nick Anderson and had a great game with 20 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists with just a few seconds left. The Magic had the win in the bag with a 20-point lead as the game was closing down. But Bowie managed to make even those last few seconds pretty interesting.
The Pistons missed a free throw, and Bowie got his 10th rebound, being just one assist shy from the illustrious triple-double. So with just a few seconds on the clock and underneath his own basket, Bowie had no choice but to call a time-out himself. His coach Brian Hill was disgusted by it and distanced himself from the whole situation, letting Bowie dictate the time-out.
Pistons coach Doug Collins also couldn’t believe what he saw, as he ordered his team to stand on the side and let Bowie execute his plan. And that’s precisely what happened as Bowie got the pass, handed it off to David Vaughn, who threw down the dunk, giving Bowie his 10th assist and the triple-double, as the Magic won 113-91.
He would immediately run the other way to apologize to Doug Collins, who was storming off the court, but he wasn’t having any of it, just ignoring him. Collins even got fined 5000$ for pulling his players off the court, but he didn’t regret the decision.
Bowie himself recently shared his thoughts on the incident and explained how he doesn’t regret doing it to this day:
“Regret? I don’t understand why people say I should regret having a triple-double, regardless of how it came. The triple-double is in the books, no matter how it happened. If those guys wanted to stop me, they could have stopped me. I don’t hold any grudges or any bad thoughts toward anybody that I played with or felt it was wrong for me to do that. It wasn’t to embarrass anybody or harm anybody. It’s a game.”Anthony Bowie, via The Oklahoman
Big numbers, triple-doubles, and personal accolades for NBA players are always great to see and one of the more exciting aspects of the game to monitor. Still, when somebody is just being greedy and forcing it, the basketball purists won’t respect and give it zero compliments. Even though the mass doesn’t like how Bowie got his triple-double, at least he is proud of his accomplishment, so that’s all that matters in the end.