Things you didn't know about Bruce Bowen

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Three-time NBA champion Bruce Bowen retired from the San Antonio Spurs in 2009. He still talks basketball though as an ESPN analyst. But whenever he can come home to Fresno he'll put on a free basketball camp at his alma mater - Edison High.

The assists Bruce Bowen handed out at Edison Computech really had nothing to do with basketball. The sport was just the vehicle to reach kids who like him grew up in west Fresno.

Bowen explained, "If kids never see someone that is confronted with an issue and watch that individual use his mind instead of his fists they're going to have issues with that. They're going to have a problem trying to emulate things that they have not seen."

The bow tie prominently featured on his t-shirt mirrored the bow ties he wears as an ESPN analyst. But the game of life is where Bowen wanted these kids to excel. Bruce saw himself in every group he worked with.

Bowen said, "You can have a helping hand in your process."

But Bowen's high school coach Bill Engel had no idea Bruce impersonated him in the late 80's and called recruiters at Fullerton State, San Jose State and Tennessee.

Bruce recalled, "It was so easy. Mind you we didn't have Caller ID so I pick up the phone. Hello my name is Bill Engel. I'm from Edison High School here in Fresno, California."

The pitch worked. Bruce ended up at Fullerton. Bowen's sense of humor though led Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to dub him "Eddie Haskell" - the annoying best friend from the old TV show "Leave it to Beaver."

Bruce said he often got yelled at on the court. "Honestly the best way to defuse any situation is to take accountability. 'You know what Pop my fault' and he's like don't you start that right now. Don't you Eddie Haskell me right now. You know what you're doing."

Such a nice guy but he sure got under everybody's skin.

Bruce Bowen is an 8-time all-NBA Defensive Team member. Bowen had his jersey retired by San Antonio in 2012 but agreed to allow the newest Spur, LaMarcus Aldridge to wear number 12. The selfless act was typical from a guy whose role acceptance helped San Antonio win titles.

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