In a decorated NBA career spanning 12 years, Bruce Bowen cemented his status as one of the best defenders in the league.
Bowen made life miserable for the opposing teams’ top dogs including Lakers great Kobe Bryant and Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, and in doing so earned the NBA All-Defensive first team five times and the second team thrice.
The San Antonio defensive lynchpin even limited James in the latter’s first NBA Finals appearance in 2007 to 22 points, seven rebounds, 6.7 assists, and a whopping 5.7 turnovers in the series which Spurs swept. He retired two years later with three championships under his belt.
But when asked by reporters during a media availability on Thursday to name the five players that were the toughest to defend, his answers were expected save for one.
Naturally, Bowen put Michael Jordan, regarded as the greatest player to ever play, on top of the list. This even though Jordan was in the twilight of his career when they first met on the floor.
The NBA legend was followed by Kobe Bryant. The two locked horns many times in the playoffs.
James came in third, while former Houston Rockets star Tracy McGrady, who famously torched the Spurs with 13 points in 33 seconds in 2004, placed fifth.
While the names on first, second, third and fifth were all no-brainers, the fourth guy on the list raised eyebrows.
“Number four is Michael Redd,” Bowen told reporters at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel.
Redd is a former Milwaukee Buck whose career was highlighted by a lone All-Star appearance in the 2003-2004 season after he averaged 21.7 points.
His best season came in 2007 when he normed 26.7 points and set a Bucks record of 57 points in a single game. But things went downhill for him after he tore an ACL and MCL in his right knee.
The 6-foot-7 Bowen is in Manila to attend a pair of NBA finals viewing parties at the Eastwood City Mall Activity Center and Buffalo Wild Wings in Glorietta. He will also hold a basketball clinic at the NBA revitalized court in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines College of Engineering.
“It’s been fantastic. I’m having a great time. Any time you get to see a new culture you have to keep an open mind,” he said.
“I’m thrilled to be here, I’m thrilled about the excitement of Filipinos here that are huge basketball fans. Outside the US, this is the number one country that’s following the NBA, with 6.7 million on a Facebook site.”