By Tony McClean
Updated: November 25, 2004
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — He was one of the original members of the basketball fraternity “Phi Slamma Jamma” at the University of Houston. When he reached in the NBA, he became one of the league’s most flamboyant guards. He would later return to Houston and team with his college buddy to win an NBA title.
Through 15 years as an NBA player, Clyde Drexler served as a model for the perfect professional athlete. He played with elegance and flair, with leadership and poise, with integrity and an ability to come through in the clutch.
In his new book co-authored with Oregon-based reporter Kerry Eggers, “Clyde The Glide” sounds off on a variety of subjects, including the current state of the NBA, how he learned whom not to trust, the innate badness of certain referees, and how some current NBA owners “don’t know what the hell they are doing.”
He led the Portland Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals twice and helped the Houston Rockets win the NBA championship in 1995. A 10-time All-Star and a member of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, Drexler became a member of Basketball’s Hall of Fame earlier this year.
In “Clyde The Glide”, Drexler takes readers through his days growing up in a single-parent household in Houston, where he became a local legend and teamed with Hakeem Olajuwon to guide the University of Houston into the NCAA Final Four twice in the early 1980s.
He also offers thoughts and background on his 12-year run as the leader of the Trail Blazers and the most popular player in the history of the franchise, followed by his return home and the fitting sendoff to his career with a title as a member of the Rockets.
The Blazers selected Drexler with the 14th overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft. Looking back, it seems a mystery how such a great player slipped so low in the draft, especially in light of the careers of many of the players chosen ahead of him.
As a rookie, Drexler didn’t have an immediate impact, averaging just 7.7 ppg. Some of that could be attributed to the fact that he only averaged a little over 17 minutes per game playing behind veteran guards and forwards like John Paxson, Calvin Natt and the year’s prior No. 1 selection, Lafayette “Fat” Lever.
After that inaugural season, Drexler reeled off 10 straight seasons as one of the top scorers in the league. In his second season, Drexler’s scoring jumped to 17.2 ppg. And by his third year, 1985-86, he had become an All-Star, averaging 18.5 points and ranking third in the NBA in steals (2.63 per game) and 10th in assists (8.0 apg).
Drexler also reminisces about his former teammates and the greats of the game who became his friends and foes through the years. He also discusses his ideas on what can be done to make the NBA better.
“Clyde The Glide” give a great insight on one of the league’s most underrated superstars and behind the scenes of the NBA experience. This book is very informative and very entertaining