Position: Guard-Forward
Born: 22/06/62
Height: 6'7''
Weight: 222 lbs.
College: Houston '83

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One of the game's all-time great guards, Clyde "the Glide" Drexler is known for his high-flying yet seemingly effortless swoops to the basket. After almost a dozen seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, Drexler left Portland with his name all over the franchise's record books. A perennial All-Star and a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Dream Team, Drexler twice led the Blazers to the NBA Finals. It wasn't until he joined the Houston Rockets midway through his 12th campaign, however, that he finally earned a championship ring. It was fitting that Drexler achieved the ultimate NBA success while in Houston. A native of the city, he attended the University of Houston and starred on the "Phi Slamma Jamma" teams of the early 1980s. A forward in college, Drexler teamed with Hakeem Olajuwon and Larry Micheaux to form a front line that took the team on two straight trips to the NCAA Final Four. In his senior season Drexler averaged 15.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting .536 from the floor. The Blazers selected Drexler with the 14th overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft. After averaging 7.7 points as a rookie, he reeled off 10 straight seasons as one of the top scorers in the league. 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). In 1987-88 he placed fifth in the balloting for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, after a season in which he averaged 27.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.51 steals. In 1989 he set a Portland record by dunking on an 11-foot-1 basket. A quiet star in a city removed from intense media attention, Drexler didn't always receive the acclaim that his stellar statistics should have earned him. As Portland developed into a contender, however, recognition of Drexler's exploits followed. Behind Drexler, the explosive Blazers went to the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992 and reached the Western Conference Finals in 1991. In 1989-90 Drexler averaged 23.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists and made the All-NBA Third Team. In 1990-91 he earned All-NBA Second Team honors. The following season was one of Drexler's most memorable. He averaged 25.0 points (fourth in the league), became the second player in Portland history to make the All-NBA First Team, finished second to Michael Jordan in MVP balloting and took the Blazers to the NBA Finals against Jordan and the Bulls. He then capped the season by earning a gold medal with the 1992 Dream Team at the Barcelona Olympics. Hampered by injuries, Drexler's production fell in the next two seasons (to 19.9 and 19.2 points per game, respectively), and by 1994-95 he was indicating that he was ready to leave Portland. At midseason the Blazers obliged by trading him to the Houston Rockets for Otis Thorpe. Drexler left Portland as the team's all-time leader in scoring, games, minutes, field goals, free throws, rebounds and steals. The Houston trade reunited him with college teammate Olajuwon, and the two powered the Rockets from the sixth seed in the playoffs to the 1995 NBA Championship. In 1995-96, Drexler averaged 19.3 points for the Rockets in a season that was limited to 52 games due to shin and knee injuries.

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Injuries cut into Drexler's productivity in 1995-96, his first full season for the Rockets. He had solid stats of 19.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game, but was limited to 52 games due to a pair of injuries. Drexler missed eight games from Dec. 21 to Jan. 3 due to a right shin contusion and then sat out 20 games from Feb. 19 to April 3 because of a slight lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. He scored in double figures in 46 of the 52 games he played, in cluding 24 games of 20 or more points and four games of 30 or more. His season high was 41 points on 17-for-23 shooting against Charlotte on Dec. 2, a game in which he made 13 consecutive shots over a 20-minute span. he had three triple-doubles during the season and participated in his ninth All-Star Game, scoring 11 points in 19 minutes. Still recovering from his knee injury, Drexler averaged 16.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists in eight playoff games.

Drexler experienced quite a season in 1994-95, leaving the Portland Trail Blazers after almost 12 years with the team and helping his new Rockets team to a championship in his hometown of Houston. Opening the year with the Blazers, Drexler quickly raised his average above 20 points per game to become one of the leading scorers in the league. Despite his superb performance, he expressed a desire to be traded and got his wish on February 14 when Portland sent Drexler and forward Tracy Murray to the Houston Rockets for forward Otis Thorpe, the rights to Marcelo Nicola, and a draft pick. The move was a significant one for Drexler. He had become synonymous with Blazers basketball and owned most of the franchise's records, including games, minutes, points, field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, total rebounds, offensive rebounds, and steals. His arrival in Houston brought him back to the city where he had played high school and college basketball and reunited him with center Hakeem Olajuwon, with whom he had played at the University of Houston. The deal drew some criticism from Houston fans, however, who adored Thorpe and felt that Houston had left itself too thin at power forward. Unperturbed, Drexler merely went about his business, averaging 21.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.77 steals for the Rockets. His overall season average was 21.8 points per game, 11th in the league and second among NBA guards behind that of the Sacramento Kings' Mitch Richmond. Drexler shot .506 from the floor for the Rockets, better than his overall regular-season mark of .461. He also ranked among the league leaders in treys, hitting 147 of 408 three-point attempts for a .360 percentage. Drexler played particularly well late in the season when Olajuwon was sidelined with anemia. He won NBA Player of the Week honors for the period ending April 9, recorded his 18th career triple-double on April 11 against the Dallas Mavericks, scored 41 points on March 30 against the Los Angeles Clippers, and netted 40 points versus the Golden State Warriors on April 6. Despite Drexler's efforts, the Rockets went a combined 12-15 in March and April and entered the playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. Not favored to win their second straight title, the Rockets upset the Utah Jazz, the Phoenix Suns, and the San Antonio Spurs and then blasted the Orlando Magic in four straight games to win the NBA crown. Drexler, who had made two unsuccessful trips to the NBA Finals with Portland, was magnificent in the playoffs. He averaged 20.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.5 steals in an unwavering display of showmanship. In the Orlando series he scored 23 points in Game 2 and 25 points in Game 3 while recording a combined 18 rebounds and 12 assists.

With Drexler still lacking the attention given athletes in such media hotbeds as New York and Los Angeles, it was a high compliment that he placed second only to Charles Barkley in the fan voting for the 1994 Western Conference All-Star Team. It marked Drexler's seventh straight All-Star Game appearance and his eighth overall. The 1993-94 season marked the first time in seven years that Drexler did not lead the Portland Trail Blazers in scoring, as he averaged 19.2 points to finish second on the team behind Clifford Robinson (20.1 ppg). However, Drexler's 11th NBA season did see a few milestones: he became the 47th NBA player to reach 17,000 career points, and he became Portland's all-time rebounding leader, finishing the season with 5,105 boards. Despite a sprained left ankle and various other nagging injuries that caused him to miss 14 games, Drexler finished the year with averages of 6.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists per contest. During a first-round playoff loss to the Houston Rockets, Drexler contributed 21.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game.

For the first time in his career, Drexler was a regular in the trainer's room. He served three stints on the injured list and missed more games this season than he had in the previous nine seasons combined. His maladies included a sore right knee and a strained left hamstring. His season averages reflected his injury-troubled campaign: "only" 19.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists in 49 games. The Blazers were 30-19 with him in the lineup and 21-12 without him. Drexler tallied a season-high 36 points versus the Suns at Phoenix on November 25. He played 50 minutes in a December 11 game against the Indiana Pacers but was shelved from December 30 to January 11 with a sore right knee. Voted to start in his second straight All-Star Game, Drexler scored only 2 points in 11 minutes. He spent time on the injured list from March 2 to March 26 with a strained left hamstring, and after a brief stint back with the club he was sidelined with the same injury. Drexler finished the season with 1,623 career steals, becoming only the eighth player in NBA history to record 1,600 or more thefts. He also became the 62nd player in NBA history to surpass the 15,000-point mark. Drexler did not play in Portland's first playoff game against San Antonio because of the strained hamstring, but he averaged 19.0 points in the following three contests. The Spurs derailed the Blazers in four games.
Drexler was named to the All-NBA First Team for the first time in 1992-an honor many felt was long overdue. His white-hot averages of 25.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game also earned him the runner-up slot in voting for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, behind the Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan. He was also selected to join Jordan, Magic Johnson, and others on the Dream Team, the squad of basketball superstars that represented the United States at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Drexler started the season with a bang. He was named NBA Player of the Month in November after averaging 26.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.5 assists. He earned his first starting role in the NBA All-Star Game and finished runner-up in the balloting for the game's Most Valuable Player Award after chalking up 22 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocked shots in 28 minutes. Drexler missed the final four games of the regular season with a sprained right knee. He was also slowed late in the year with turf toe in the large toe of each foot. But at playoff time Drexler was again "Clyde the Glide." In a first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers, he set a single-game playoff record for most points in an overtime period with 13. He finished with 42 points that night, the most ever by a Blazer in a postseason game. The Blazers advanced to the NBA Finals for the second time in three years, and Drexler again was impressive. In a series that gave the Chicago Bulls their second consecutive NBA Championship, Drexler averaged 24.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.3 assists.
Drexler's name and the phrase "triple-double" became almost synonymous this season. He logged four more triple-doubles to boost his career total to 16. He finished sixth in the NBA Most Valuable Player balloting after averaging 21.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 6.0 assists to reclaim a spot on the All-NBA Second Team. Drexler was named NBA Player of the Week three times, marking the second time in his career that he had won the award on three occasions. In the fifth All-Star Game appearance of his career, he scored 12 points in 19 minutes. He also competed in the Long Distance Shootout at the NBA All-Star Weekend. In a first-round playoff victory over the Seattle SuperSonics, Drexler scored a playoff career-high 39 points on April 26. And in a second-round triumph over the Utah Jazz, he posted the third triple-double (15 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) of his playoff career. However, the Blazers missed an opportunity to return to the NBA Finals for the second straight year, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.

After four consecutive first-round exits in the NBA Playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers finally made postseason noise in 1989-90. During the offseason the Blazers had traded for veteran power forward Buck Williams, an acquisition that excited Drexler. "I think we have a championship-caliber team, and we're going to get there," Drexler predicted before the season. Drexler was a vital cog in the Trail Blazers' run to the NBA Finals, in which they faced the Detroit Pistons. Indeed, in 21 playoff games this season he averaged 21.4 points and 7.2 rebounds. Drexler scored 33 points in Game 2 of the Championship Series, including the winning free throws in the final seconds of overtime. However, that was the only game Portland won in the series, as Detroit copped its second straight NBA Championship. Drexler averaged 26.4 points and 7.8 rebounds and shot .543 from the floor in the Finals. Earlier in the season, in a game against the Phoenix Suns on December 26, Drexler had surpassed the 10,000-point mark. He averaged 23.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.9 assists for the year and made a third straight appearance in the NBA All-Star Game. He was named to the All-NBA Third Team at season's end.
Drexler played in three fewer games and scored 62 fewer points than the previous season, but he still set a new Trail Blazers scoring average record at 27.0 points per game. He ranked fourth in the league in scoring and fifth in steals (2.73 per game). Among his many marvelous outings was a 50-point explosion in a double-overtime game against the Sacramento Kings on January 6. Fast becoming a fixture in the NBA All-Star Game, he played 25 minutes and piled up 14 points and 12 rebounds. Drexler had been known throughout his career as a spectacular, high-flying dunker, and he didn't disappoint the hometown faithful in the Slam-Dunk Championship at the 1989 NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston, finishing second to Kenny Walker of the New York Knicks. Drexler had a solid postseason, averaging 27.7 points. However, Portland failed to advance past the first round for the fourth consecutive season, dropping a three-game series to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The honors began rolling in for Drexler this year, among them a fifth-place finish in the balloting for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and a berth on the All-NBA Second Team. He boosted his scoring average to 27.0 points per game, more than 5 points better than his mark the previous season. That mark ranked sixth in the league, and his average of 2.51 steals per game was good for fifth. Drexler established a franchise scoring record with 2,185 points. He was named NBA Player of the Week three times, in the process becoming the first player in league history to win the award in back-to-back weeks. In his second NBA All-Star Game he totaled 12 points and 5 rebounds in 15 minutes. He also placed third in the Slam-Dunk Championship at the NBA All-Star Weekend. For the third straight season Portland lost in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Drexler shot only .386 from the field during the postseason, averaging 22.0 points as the Blazers were upset by the Utah Jazz in four games.
If a player wanted to be considered among the NBA's elite, there was no mystery about what he had to achieve-the same things achieved by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Indeed, each has been considered to rank among the most complete players of all time. This year, Drexler began to find himself in that rarefied air. This season Drexler joined Johnson and Bird as the only players in the league to average more than 21 points (21.7 ppg), 6 rebounds (6.3 rpg), and 6 assists (6.9 apg). He also finished fifth in the NBA with an average of 2.49 steals per game. He wasn't named to the West All-Star Team, but he did make an appearance at the Slam-Dunk Championship at the NBA All-Star Weekend, finishing fourth. Drexler increased his production to 24.0 points per game in the postseason, but the Blazers lost a four-game first-round series to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.
Drexler began what would be an almost annual string of appearances in the NBA All-Star Game, scoring 10 points in 15 minutes in the midseason classic. In only his third NBA campaign, he charted four triple-doubles, including one of points, assists, and steals against the Bucks at Milwaukee on January 10. He was generous with the ball, setting what a then club single-season assists record with 600. Drexler averaged 18.5 points on .475 shooting from the floor. His quick hands produced an average of 2.63 steals per game, good for third in the league. Drexler averaged 18.0 points in four playoff games, but Portland fell to the Denver Nuggets in a first-round series.
Given a significant increase in playing time, Drexler more than doubled his scoring average, from 7.7 points per game in his rookie season to 17.2 in his sophomore campaign. He started 42 games and played 40 or more minutes 13 times. He had a 37-point contest against the San Antonio Spurs and 13 assists in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Drexler's numbers in the final 26 games of the regular season (18.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 7.7 apg) hinted at the blossoming of a superstar. Drexler, Jim Paxson (17.9 ppg), Mychal Thompson (18.4), and Kiki Vandeweghe (22.4) each averaged better than 17 points during the season, and the Blazers finished second in the Pacific Division with a 42-40 mark. After beating the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, Portland fell to the eventual NBA-champion Lakers in five games in the Western Conference Semifinals. Drexler averaged 16.7 points during the postseason.

Clyde Drexler teamed with Hakeem Olajuwon and Larry Micheaux to form the "Phi Slamma Jamma" front line that led the Houston Cougars to two consecutive trips to the NCAA Final Four. He was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 14th overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft. The only Blazers rookies to play all 82 games were Drexler and Kenny Carr. Drexler hit double figures in scoring 29 times in limited duty, finishing with an average of 7.7 points in only 17.2 minutes per game. He recorded a season-high 21 points against the Kansas City Kings on March 6.

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Clyde_WebŪ 1995,1996,1997
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Last revised 22/06/97