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Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin talks bust, bouncing back

Jun 20, 2011, 9:35 PM EDT

LaRue Martin Getty Images

Over the next few days there will be a lot of talk about the biggest draft busts ever (great list here from Hoopism). It’s a fun exercise, for reasons I’ve never fully understood we as a species enjoy watching others struggle and fail. The latest NBA finals seems even more proof of that.

Being the bust, that can be hard. Devastating.

Meet LaRue Martin, the top pick overall of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1972. Before Sam Bowie and Greg Oden there was Martin. He played just four seasons and his best one he averaged seven points and five rebounds a game in 17 minutes of action. Then the Chicago Native was gone from the league.

His tale of what happened and how he got back — he is now an executive with UPS and well adjusted — is an interesting one that HBO’s Real Sports will tackle Tuesday night. Below is a taste. I think it’s worth watching, and remembering that these are 19-year-olds who now have a lot of pressure on them. And not all will be able to deal with that.

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