Clyde Drexler: Everyone on Dream Team pitied Magic Johnson because he had HIV

Magic Johnson was considered a beloved figure and leader of the Dream Team, but according to Clyde Drexler, everything wasn’t all hugs and kisses.

Jack McCallum has written a new book called “Dream Team,” and in the book, Drexler shares his opinion about Magic’s role on the team. In fact, Drexler says Magic only made the 1992 Olympic team because he was pitied.

Here is an excerpt from the book as shared by Deadspin:

“Magic was always…” And Drexler goes into a decent Magic impression: “‘Come on, Clyde, come on, Clyde, get with me, get with me,’ and making all that noise. And, really, he couldn’t play much by that time. He couldn’t guard his shadow.”

“But you have to have to understand what was going on then. 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.”

Drexler had played exquisitely in the 1992 All-Star Game in Orlando, although the MVP award eventually went to Magic, who had been added by Commissioner Stern as a special thirteenth player to the Western Conference roster. “If we all knew Magic was going to live this long, I would’ve gotten the MVP of that game, and Magic probably wouldn’t have made the Olympic team.”

Johnson had already played 12 of his 13 seasons in the NBA before joining the Dream Team, so it’s not a stretch for Drexler to say that Magic’s skills were declining. But that doesn’t mean Johnson still couldn’t play — he obviously could.

While Johnson’s HIV diagnosis — which seemed like a certain death sentence at the time — could have played a large role in people treating him specially, Drexler comes off as bitter with his comments. If you look at the boxscore from the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, you’ll see that Magic pretty much outplayed everyone in that game, including Drexler.

Whether you agree with Drexler’s comments or not, we can all agree that there was plenty of tension on the team. That’s no surprise; what else do you expect to happen when you put 11 eventual Hall of Famers on the same team?

Between this excerpt and McCallum’s awesome interview with Charles Barkley, the book looks like it’s going to be great. You can go here for ordering information.

Around The Web

  • http://twitter.com/audio48 t. kempe

    i had respect for clyde now i don’t he should go sit down and look at far he has declined he actually had so so career in the pro’s and maybe stern felt for him and put him on the team , he knows there was politics  in all who made the team. players feeling were real due to the fact they did not understand HIV and how it works , eventhough they put themselves at risk  and now have to check themselves constantly. Clyde let it go it is time man grow up.

  • http://twitter.com/rds3wave Roy Schmidt

    I would not be too quick to judge Clyde. That really doesn’t sound at all like the Clyde Drexler I have heard and seen dozens of times in interviews. He’s either incredibly humble, or bland enough never to say anything controversial, let alone disparaging about anyone else. I have a hard time believing he talked this smack, really. Maybe so, but don’t just jump in and believe it without questioning the source.

  • Anonymous

    Just knowing that Clyde Drexler always carried himself with dignity, the fact that he supposedly made the comment exposes a number of things.  Although those guys had amazing chemistry on the court, that doesn’t always transcend into relationships off the court.  Who knows, Majic may have been the one that carried that sense of arrogance about his play and how well accepted he was by people.  Ofcourse people felt sorry for Majic and all he went through, but Majic’s inability to handle his fame eventually caught up to him.  It’s people’s attitudes accompanied with fame that often leads to their demise and estranged relationships with others.  So Clyde may be the only person that is even brave enough to stand against such a giant and perhaps….expose some level of truth.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OKUYI4TODSGCIXOXSRGLEUJ7CQ So Smooth

    Curious to see if Clyde respond to these alleged quotes. If not, then we know!

  • Anonymous

    I remember that All-Star game.  Clyde was deserving of the MVP.  Don’t look at the box score, as the numbers may be misleading.  The box score doesn’t reveal that Clyde’s numbers were made when the game meant something.  Magic was in at the end of the game, after the game was decided taking uncontested 3 pointers to pad his stats.  Clyde worked hard during that game and throughout his career.  He deserved the recognition for his performance that night.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SUSQHXGAAEJNV4JV3DKF6ZRQWA Don Stephens

    I remember the game vividly, and what Clyde, and others did, was pass the ball to Magic at the end of the game so he could score.  Prior to that, at the end of the third, Clyde was my pick for MVP.  Clyde, and his teammates, should be commended for giving up the ball so Magic could have his moment.