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Clyde Drexler

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Title: Clyde Drexler  
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Subject: Portland Trail Blazers, 1992 NBA Finals, 1995 NBA Finals, 1990 NBA Finals, Charles Barkley
Collection: 1962 Births, African-American Basketball Players, Basketball Players at the 1982 Ncaa Men's Division I Final Four, Basketball Players at the 1983 Ncaa Men's Division I Final Four, Basketball Players at the 1992 Summer Olympics, Basketball Players from Louisiana, Basketball Players from Texas, College Men's Basketball Head Coaches in the United States, Dancing with the Stars (U.S. Tv Series) Participants, Houston Cougars Men's Basketball Coaches, Houston Cougars Men's Basketball Players, Houston Rockets Players, Living People, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Inductees, National Basketball Association All-Stars, National Basketball Association Players with Retired Numbers, Olympic Basketball Players of the United States, Olympic Gold Medalists for the United States, Olympic Gold Medalists for the United States in Basketball, Olympic Medalists in Basketball, Participants in American Reality Television Series, Portland Trail Blazers Draft Picks, Portland Trail Blazers Players, Shooting Guards, Small Forwards, Sportspeople from Houston, Texas, Sportspeople from New Orleans, Louisiana, United States Men's National Basketball Team Players
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Clyde Drexler

Clyde Drexler
Personal information
Born (1962-06-22) June 22, 1962
Alexandria, Louisiana
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight 210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school Sterling (Houston, Texas)
College Houston (1980–1983)
NBA draft 1983 / Round: 1 / Pick: 14th overall
Selected by the Portland Trail Blazers
Pro career 1983–1998
Position Shooting guard / Small forward
Number 22
Coaching career 1998–2000
Career history
As player:
19831995 Portland Trail Blazers
19951998 Houston Rockets
As coach:
1998–2000 University of Houston
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 22,195 (20.4 ppg)
Rebounds 6,677 (6.1 rpg)
Assists 6,125 (5.6 apg)
Stats at
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Clyde Austin "The Glide" Drexler (born June 22, 1962) is an American retired professional basketball swingman. During his career, he was a ten-time All-Star, and named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Drexler won an Olympic gold medal in 1992 as part of the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team ("The Dream Team") and an NBA Championship in 1995 with the Houston Rockets. He is a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee (being inducted 2004 for his individual career, and in 2010 as a member of the "Dream Team")[1] He currently serves as a color commentator for Rockets home games.


  • Early years 1
  • College career 2
  • NBA career 3
    • Portland Trail Blazers 3.1
    • Houston Rockets 3.2
  • NBA career statistics 4
  • Awards 5
  • NBA records 6
    • Regular season 6.1
    • Playoffs 6.2
    • All-Star Game 6.3
  • Player profile 7
  • College coaching career 8
    • Head coaching record 8.1
  • Honors and tribute 9
  • Personal 10
  • Books 11
  • TV appearances 12
  • See also 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15

Early years

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Drexler lived in the South Park area in Houston, Texas,[2] and attended Ross Sterling High School[3] in Houston, where he was a classmate of tennis player Zina Garrison.[4] As a sophomore, he made the varsity baseball team, and of course tried out for the basketball team but failed to make the cut.[5] Drexler played as a 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) center (basketball) as a senior. He began receiving attention from college coaches following a 34-point, 27-rebound performance against Sharpstown High School during a 1979 Christmas tournament.[5]

After graduating in 1980, he was recruited by New Mexico State University, Texas Tech University, and the University of Houston, the latter after childhood friend Michael Young told an assistant to head coach Guy V. Lewis that Drexler was the best player he had faced in high school; Houston was able to recruit them both due to Drexler's friendship with Young and his desire to stay home.[5] Drexler majored in finance and worked at a bank during the summer.[4] Lewis recalled in 2003 that he initially received hate mail from Houston supporters and alumni for recruiting Drexler, as they felt that he was not good enough to play for the school.[5]

College career

Drexler performs a slam dunk as a member of the Houston Cougars men's basketball team

Drexler and Young, along with Larry Micheaux and new recruit Hakeem Olajuwon (known then as Akeem Olajuwon), comprised the "Phi Slama Jama" basketball fraternity that gained national attention for its acrobatic, above-the-rim play. New players were "initiated" into the fraternity by having to stand underneath the basket as Drexler drove in from halfcourt and threw down a tomahawk slam over them.[6] Houston made the first of Drexler's two straight Final Four appearances in 1982, where they lost to eventual champions North Carolina. He averaged 15.2 points and 10.5 rebounds (second in the Southwest Conference) per game as a small forward as Houston finished 25–8.[5]

The 1982–83 campaign saw Houston return to the Final Four ranked No. 1. They were matched up against No. 2 Louisville and the "Doctors of Dunk" in the semifinals, which Houston won 94–81 following a brilliant dunking display by both sides, including a double-pump slam by Drexler that Sports Illustrated writer Curry Kirkpatrick called "your basic play of the century".[7] He finished with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists, but in the championship game against North Carolina State, Drexler failed to make an impact after picking up four fouls before halftime, and scored only four points on one-of-five shooting and two free throws in NC State's upset victory.[6]

Drexler declared for the NBA draft as a junior, leaving Houston with career averages of 14.4 points, 3.3 assists and 9.9 rebounds in three seasons. In addition to being named the Southwestern Conference Player of the Year and a first-team All American his final season,[8] he remains the only player in school history with combined totals of at least 1,000 career points, 900 rebounds and 300 assists, in addition to being Houston's all-time steals leader with 268.[9]

NBA career

Portland Trail Blazers

In the 1983 NBA draft Drexler was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 14th overall pick. He averaged only 7.7 points in 17.2 minutes per game in his rookie season. His second season was his breakout season, in which he averaged 17.2 points, 6 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game. In his third season, Drexler made his first All-Star team while averaging 18.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 8 assists and 2.6 steals. In the 1989–1990 season, Drexler led the Portland Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals, averaging 26.4 points and 7.8 rebounds, but his team lost to the Detroit Pistons. In the 1990–1991 season Drexler led Portland to a franchise best 63–19 record. Heavily favored to win the West, the Los Angeles Lakers upset the Trail Blazers by winning the Western Conference Finals.

In the 1991–92 season he made the All-NBA First Team and finished second to Michael Jordan in MVP voting.[10] He met Jordan's Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals that same season only to fall short, as Jordan and the Bulls went on to win their second consecutive championship. In the six-game series against Chicago, Drexler averaged 24.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.[11]

In 1992 he was selected to the U.S. Olympic basketball team, nicknamed "The Dream Team", which won the gold medal in Barcelona

Houston Rockets

On February 14, 1995, with the Blazers out of serious contention for a championship, Portland honored Drexler's request to be traded to a contender and sent the Blazer great back home to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Otis Thorpe in mid-season, right before the trade deadline. Despite finishing the regular season with a record of 47–35, which placed the Rockets 6th out of 8 playoff teams in the Western Conference, Drexler and long-time friend Hakeem Olajuwon helped propel them to an improbable second consecutive championship in 1995, sweeping the Orlando Magic. In his third NBA Finals appearance, Drexler averaged 21.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game.[12]

Drexler poses during NBA Global Games in the Philippines in 2013.

During the 1995 NBA Playoffs, Drexler was ejected during a game between the Rockets and the Phoenix Suns by referee Jake O'Donnell, which allegedly stemmed from a personal feud between the two at the time.[13] This would turn out to be the last NBA game O'Donnell would referee, as he was not assigned any further games in the playoffs that year, and eventually retired a few months later. In 1996, on ESPN's NBA Today, O'Donnell commented, "I wouldn't give Clyde Drexler much leeway because of the way he reacted with me all the time. I thought at times he would give cheap shots to people, and I just would not allow it."[14]

On February 13, 2009, Drexler participated in the NBA All-Star Weekend's Celebrity Game. Other celebrities participating included Basketball Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, National Football League wide receiver Terrell Owens, actor Chris Tucker and four Harlem Globetrotters.

NBA career statistics

Regular season Playoffs
1983–84 Portland 82 17.2 1.30 0.35 2.9 1.9 .451 7.7 5 17.0 1.00 0.20 3.4 1.6 .429 7.2
1984–85 Portland 80 31.9 2.21 0.85 6.0 5.5 .494 17.2 9 37.7 2.56 1.00 6.1 9.2 .410 16.7
1985–86 Portland 75 34.3 2.63 0.61 5.6 8.0 .475 18.5 4 36.3 1.50 0.75 6.3 6.5 .456 18.0
1986–87 Portland 82 38.0 2.49 0.87 6.3 6.9 .502 21.7 4 38.3 1.75 0.75 7.5 3.8 .456 24.0
1987–88 Portland 81 37.8 2.51 0.64 6.6 5.8 .506 27.0 4 42.5 3.00 0.50 7.0 5.3 .386 22.0
1988–89 Portland 78 39.3 2.73 0.69 7.9 5.8 .496 27.2 3 42.7 2.00 0.67 6.7 8.3 .493 27.7
1989–90 Portland 73 36.8 1.99 0.70 6.9 5.9 .494 23.3 21 40.6 2.52 0.86 7.2 7.1 .441 21.4
1990–91 Portland 82 34.8 1.76 0.73 6.7 6.0 .482 21.5 16 39.6 2.13 1.00 8.1 8.1 .476 21.7
1991–92 Portland 76 36.2 1.82 0.92 6.6 6.7 .470 25.0 21 40.3 1.48 0.95 7.4 7.0 .466 26.3
1992–93 Portland 49 34.1 1.94 0.76 6.3 5.7 .429 19.9 3 38.7 1.67 1.00 6.3 4.7 .419 19.0
1993–94 Portland 68 34.3 1.44 0.50 6.5 4.9 .428 19.2 4 39.3 2.00 0.50 10.3 5.5 .425 21.0
1994–95 Por – Hou 76 35.9 1.79 0.59 6.3 4.8 .461 21.8 22 38.6 1.50 0.68 7.0 5.0 .481 20.5
1995–96 Houston 52 38.4 2.02 0.46 7.2 5.8 .433 19.3 8 36.5 2.63 0.50 7.8 5.0 .415 16.6
1996–97 Houston 62 36.6 1.92 0.58 6.0 5.7 .442 18.0 16 38.9 1.63 0.44 5.6 4.8 .436 18.1
1997–98 Houston 70 35.3 1.80 0.60 4.9 5.5 .427 18.4 5 36.4 1.60 0.60 5.4 4.6 .309 15.0
Career 1,086 34.6 2.03 0.66 6.1 5.6 .472 20.4 145 38.4 1.92 0.74 6.9 6.1 .447 20.4


NBA records

Regular season

Most steals in a half: 8, second half, Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings, November 1, 1996

Most offensive rebounds by a guard in a career: 2,615


Most points in an overtime period: 13, Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Lakers, April 29, 1992

Most steals in a 3-game series: 13, Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks, 1990 Western Conference First Round

Most steals in a half: 6, Portland Trail Blazers vs. Phoenix Suns, May 23, 1990

All-Star Game

Highest free throw percentage for a career: 1.000 (12—12)

Player profile

Clyde "The Glide" Drexler, as he was nicknamed at the University of Houston and throughout his professional career, was famed for his speed and athleticism on the court and his easygoing and quiet demeanor off the court. At the University of Houston, Drexler became well known for his exceptional abilities as a finisher, but generally was not considered a great shooter. During his pro career Drexler developed a much more well-rounded game, even becoming an effective post player and more consistent outside shooter. His extraordinary leaping abilities allowed him to be an acrobatic dunker and Drexler participated in numerous NBA All-Star dunk contests during the late eighties.

Drexler was regarded as a versatile player, and he was consistently among the leaders at his position in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. He also posted a considerable number of blocked shots for a player his size, ranking third for his career totals among guards.

He is one of three players in NBA history to have posted career totals of at least 20,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 6,000 assists (the two others being Oscar Robertson and John Havlicek).[15] As of 2008, Drexler leads all guards with his career average of offensive rebounds with 2.4 per game.

Statistical analysis shows similar players to Clyde include Grant Hill, Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway, and Manu Ginobili.[16]

College coaching career

Drexler stayed with the Rockets for three more seasons before retiring from the NBA after the 1997–98 season in order to become head men's basketball coach at his alma mater, the University of Houston.

Drexler coached the Cougars in 1998–1999 and 1999–2000. After compiling a 19–37 record in his two seasons, Drexler decided to resign to spend more time with his family.[17]

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Houston Cougars (Conference USA) (1998–2000)
1998–99 Houston 10–17 5–11 6th (National Division)
1999-00 Houston 9–22 2–14 6th (National Division)
Houston: 19–39 (.327) 7–25 (.219)
Total: 19–39 (.327)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

Honors and tribute

One of only five numbers retired by the University of Houston men's basketball team, Drexler's No. 22 hangs in Hofheinz Pavilion.

Drexler's No. 22 jersey has been retired by the Cougars (pictured), Rockets, and Trail Blazers. He was inducted as a player into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 10, 2004, in his first year of eligibility.[18]

In 2004 Drexler co-authored his biography, Clyde the Glide, with Portland Tribune sports writer Kerry Eggers, and University of Houston classmate and CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz providing the foreword.[5]

Drexler set a Trail Blazer record in 1989 by dunking on an 11' 1" rim.[19]


Drexler married his wife, Gaynell, on December 30, 1988. He has four children, Erica, Austin, Elise, and Adam (the last three with Gaynell). The Drexlers have a home in the River Oaks-Memorial neighborhood of Houston and another one in the Dunthorpe neighborhood of Portland.[20]

His brother James and his two sisters, Denise and Virginia, run the family Bush Intercontinental Airport.[20][21] Drexler also started investing in real estate in his rookie NBA season, and although he is now mostly retired, he does do some managing of his Drexler Holdings LLC, based in downtown Houston.[20][22]


Drexler is the subject of the book Clyde Drexler: Clyde the Glide.[23] He also wrote the introduction to the children's book Shrews Can't Hoop.[24]

TV appearances

Drexler made a guest appearance on Married... with Children, a cameo appearance in an episode of Arliss, and was also a guest star in an episode of The Sentinel. In 2006 he made a cameo appearance in the basketball movie Like Mike 2: Streetball. That same year, Drexler participated in the first season of the Spike TV show Pros vs. Joes, which features three amateur contestants matching themselves against five professional athletes. Drexler was a member of the regular season Green Team and the season finale Orange Team.

On February 21, 2007, it was announced that Drexler would participate in the fourth season of the American version of Dancing with the Stars with partner Elena Grinenko.[25] Drexler was the fourth celebrity to be voted off in round five on April 17, 2007.

On April 11, 2010, Drexler appeared as a guest on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice in which he helped the men's team "Rock Solid" complete a task to create video advertisements for Right Guard.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Shilcutt, Katharine. "Still Standing." Houston Press. Wednesday January 12, 2011. 1. Retrieved on January 13, 2011.
  3. ^ "NBA Legends Unveil Tundra Turnaround Court at Delmar Complex" – Houston Independent School District – May 7, 2007
  4. ^ a b Higdon, David. "Clyde Drexler: Portland's Pride". Sports Illustrated for Kids February 1993.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Drexler, Clyde with Kerry Eggers. Clyde the Glide. Sports Publishing. 2004. ISBN 1-58261-742-2
  6. ^ a b Bengtson, Russ. Quiet as Kept, Slam Magazine, December 1996
  7. ^ Clyde Drexler Career Highlights No. 14, "Quotes in Mid-Flight." Fleer Corporation, 1993–94
  8. ^ Clyde Drexler Career Highlights No. 3, "Southern Rock n' Roll." Fleer Corporation, 1993–94
  9. ^ Database Basketball
  10. ^ "1991–92 NBA MVP Voting". 
  11. ^ "1992 NBA Finals Composite Box Score". 
  12. ^ "1995 NBA Finals Composite Box Score". 
  13. ^ Monroe, Mike (April 17, 2007). "Downside also apparent in referee's suspension".  
  14. ^ Eggers, Kerry (January 29, 1996). "Here's who should be on All-Star teams".  
  15. ^ "Clyde Drexler Bio".  
  16. ^ "Players Like Clyde Drexler". NBACompare. 
  17. ^ "COLLEGE BASKETBALL; Drexler Bows Out After Two Seasons".  
  18. ^ "Clide Drexler's Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Profile.".  Retrieved on 2008-04-09
  19. ^ Biography – NBA – Accessed January 13, 2008
  20. ^ a b c Vondersmith, Jason. "Life’s a glide" – Portland Tribune – December 12, 2003. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  21. ^ "Bush Intercontinental Airport" – USA Today: Travel – February 27, 2007
  22. ^ Drexler Holdings LLC at Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts – State of Texas-Secretary of State
  23. ^ "Clyde Drexler: Clyde the Glide".  
  24. ^ "Shrews Can't Hoop".  
  25. ^ "Meet the New Cast of 'Dancing With the Stars'" – ABC News – February 21, 2007

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from
  • Clyde Drexler at NBA Encyclopedia
  • Clyde Drexler at the Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Maxey, Wendell. "Clyde Drexler".  
  • University of Houston Digital Library photos of Clyde Drexler

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