Clyde Drexler Said What About Magic Johnson?!?!

Sports Illustrated’s Jack McCallum has a new book coming out about the Dream Team, which apparently includes a damning interview Clyde Drexler gave. Deadspin got a couple of these excerpts, and here they are.

“Everybody kept waiting for Magic to die. Every time he’d run up the court everybody would feel sorry for the guy, and he’d get all that benefit of the doubt. Magic came across like, ‘All this is my stuff.’ Really? Get outta here, dude. He was on the declining end of his career.”

I understand that back then, information about HIV and AIDS was still pretty much in its infancy. People were afraid of what would happen, mostly because they didn’t know. However, to just come out and say that people pitied Magic and downplay his career is extremely unprofessional.

To say that Magic was on the downside of his career is partly true, but let’s look at the numbers. Johnson was averaging almost a triple double in 1991 (19.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 12.5 APG) which is amazing by any standards. Johnson looked just as good as Drexler, so trying to downplay him is absurd.

But we’re not done yet. Take a look at the arguably worse quote below.

“If we all knew Magic was going to live this long, I would’ve gotten the MVP of that game (All-Star), and Magic probably wouldn’t have made the Olympic team.”

This is a spot where Drexler just got plain wrong. Let’s look at the numbers and what happened in both the Olympics and All-Star game.

Both Johnson and Drexler played near the same amount of time in the All-Star game (29 and 28 minutes, respectively) and Magic still had arguably better numbers than Clyde. Johnson had 25 points, 9 assists and 5 rebounds. Drexler had 22 points, 6 assists and 9 rebounds.

That is not that much of a difference, and in fact, Johnson still had better numbers. To say that he didn’t deserve the MVP is ridiculous, as game tape showed that, in addition to his numbers, Johnson played very well when matched up with guys like Isaiah Thomas and Michael Jordan.

However, All-Star games aren’t really the best indication of a team’s talent. So, what about that whole thing about the Olympics? Once again, the facts aren’t really in Drexler’s favor.

They once again posted very similar numbers, this time with Johnson netting 8 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 5.5 APG, while Drexler had 10.5 PPG, 3 APG and 3.6 APG. In fact, the only reason Drexler was even on the team was because Isaiah Thomas was blackballed by Michael Jordan, who even admitted it.

So a lot of you may be asking why he did it, or even if he really did do it. After all, Drexler has begun to deny he said these things, and claims that he was misquoted.

Assuming this is real (because we have no other reason to believe not) Clyde probably said this because he felt spurned in some way. He always had trouble winning a ring, which is why he went to Houston, where Hakeem Olajuwon carried him and the team to a championship.

To be honest, this just seems very petty to bring up 20 years later. Drexler just seems ticked in some way, though I hardly see why attacking Johnson would help this.

Then again, there is the off chance he never even said any of this. However, I’ll put my money on “yes”.

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