Bruce Bowen: Many players lack preparation for post-basketball life

bruce-bowen-spurzDr. Andrea Duke recently met with Bruce Bowen to talk about his image and how it’s progressed throughout his career as a player and the most recent change as he’s getting comfortable in his role as an analyst on ESPN.

During his NBA career, Bowen player for Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and San Antonio Spurs.

He went on to win three NBA championships with the Spurs (2003, 2005 and 2007).

Bowen averaged career high 8.2 ppg for the Spurs in 2004-05, and holds career averages of 6.1 ppg and 2.8 rpg, appearing in 873 NBA games (644 started).


What do you think about your image as a dirty player, as a jerk on the court?

It’s who I am. When you get betrayed by the media, it hardens you. Reporters will do whatever it takes to get the story, be nice when they need to be, but then go back to ripping you. It’s the reality of the game. I was mature enough to understand, to take the good and the bad. People’s negative perceptions of me are because of the media, it influences the viewer. They judge a book by its cover, living in the moment. Media discusses what’s hot, newsworthy at the time, and that may not be about reality.

And when people would see me doing good deeds out in the community, they would assume it was all for show, just one day when I’m a good person. But look at my career and my work with HEB and AT&T – that’s not for show. I truly believe in what I am doing and trying to make a difference in the community. So that doesn’t go along with my image shown in the media, but that’s who I am.

And now, you are a retired professional player, an ESPN Analyst. What do you think is your image now as a member of the sport media family?

When I retired, I had to let go of the past and make a new image for myself. I can’t go back and be a player, I am retired and done with the game. There needed to be a transition, and I prepared myself for several years for life after basketball. So many players lack the preparation for post-professional life.

Everyone needs to get ready for the future. The guys are so used to the routine – get up, practice, video, more practice, weights, home – that they don’t know how to live now. I was ready. So now, I focus on being the best I can be at ESPN. I knew I needed to create something to offer myself post-basketball.

Talk now about life as an ESPN Analyst – how has that changed your image?

ESPN has been incredible in teaching myself and other players about the self-brand. We all need to know who we are and what we want to show to the public. But when I first started at ESPN, they wanted to put me in a box, portraying me as a certain type of defender with certain statistics and facts after my name.

I actually asked the producers to add in additional accomplishments to my “box” when introducing me so I could correctly be recognized and marketed. Defending was my job, but there was much more substance to me.



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