Clyde Drexler implies Magic Johnson, Larry Bird didn’t deserve to make Dream Team
An excerpt from the book, which is due out next month, was published by Deadspin last Tuesday and in it Clyde Drexler suggested the Dream Team pitied Magic Johnson because they felt he was going to die from HIV. Drexler, likely alarmed because of all the backlash from the excerpt, released a statement the next day denying the comments.
McCallum said the quotes were accurate but taken out of context. Now he’s provided some more context that makes Drexler look even worse.
Drexler was not one of the original 10 players selected for the Dream Team. He was competing with a few other players for the final spot and didn’t like that.
McCallum wrote about an exchange he had with Drexler regarding the issue (“Me” is McCallum):
Me: It had to be a little difficult, right?
CLYDE: To me, you only control what you control. So stuff like that don’t bother me. But if you want to know what I really think, how can you leave off Worthy, Dominique and Isiah, three guys who really deserved to be on that team. And you leave me off, too? The runnerup for the MVP? And my team is in the Finals every year? [Drexler’s Blazers were finalists in 1990 and 1992]. If you really want to know what I thought, I said it then.
ME: Well, who would you have left off then?
CLYDE: You look at production that year. What did Bird do? What did Magic do?
Deadspin may have switched the order of some quotes, but after reading that, there is no doubt that Drexler felt Magic Johnson did not deserve to be on the Olympic team. That doesn’t mean that Drexler doesn’t think that Bird and Magic are Hall of Fame players, and it doesn’t mean he doesn’t like either man. It also doesn’t mean that Drexler wasn’t supportive of Magic. All it means is that Drexler felt there were better players at the time because Magic and Larry were at the end of their respective careers. And you know what? He’s right about his analysis. Bird ended up retiring after the year. But sometimes players make teams like that because of seniority and everything they’ve done in and for the game, and that’s understandable.
Drexler should have just stood up like a man and said exactly how he felt rather than try to deny everything. He’s just coming off looking worse now.