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Drexler says Dream Team pitied Magic Johnson because “he was going to die”

Jun 26, 2012, 1:07 PM EDT


It is really hard to explain to people who are growing up now the spector that HIV/AIDS cast back in the late 1980s and early 1990s — it was a death sentence that you could get through sex. There were drug regimines just coming on the market but nobody knew if they would work, nobody really knew what was going to happen to people who contracted the disease or how long you could live with it.

That was the environment around HIV-positive Magic Johnson and the Dream Team in 1992.

Long-time Sports Illustrated writer Jack McCallum has a new book coming out on the original Dream Team — a book I can’t wait to read — and Deadspin got some excerpts with Clyde Drexler talking about Magic on that team.

Drexler was never fond of Magic’s comeback — from the 1992 All-Star Game where Magic dropped 25 points — and those bitter feelings are still there.

“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 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.”

Wow. Bitter much?

I think these comments say a lot more about Drexler than they do about Magic or the Dream Team.

I cannot wait to read the entire book. This slice via Deadspin just whet my appetite.

  1. nightrain42 - Jun 26, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Clyde is a idiot. Magic and the Lakers were a season removed from kickin Clyde and Portlands ass in the west finals. Get over it.

  2. giselleisasucubus - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Magic started this when he talked about Jordan DOMINATING Clyde during the 1992 playoffs and continuing it into the practices for the Dream Team. Apparently, according to Magic, Jordan abused Drexler in every practice, so of course. Drexler fired back. Safe to say they aren’t friends….

  3. joshm5683 - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Before I call Clyde a jackass I want to read the book. A lot of times when they pull out blurbs from a book its taken way out of context. Like Shaq’s book that just recently came out and they released some pretty scathing remarks on Kobe. After reading the actual book, nothing he said was untrue for the most part about his relationship from Bryant but they just took out the very worst parts. They didn’t put in the parts about Shaq saying Kobe was the most mentally strong player he had played with and knew he could take it and how he had to tone it way down with Wade and Lebron even more. Thats kind of another topic, but my point is before I hate on Clyde I’d want to see the entire interview. If that was the whole interview then yes hes a dickbag

  4. 1historian - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    This whole thing reminds me of Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali.

  5. jigga757 - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    clyde didnt say that…somebody tryna start some b.s. to promote that book

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 27, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      You can be sure that interview is recorded. The book’s author is a pro’s pro.

  6. wariosworld - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Lol kinda harsh Clyde don’t ya think?

  7. djstat - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Hey Clyde…Magic is a winner…you are a doosh bag

  8. lawford22 - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    Don’t hate on Clyde for being honest.
    He’s correct about the all-star game magic didn’t deserve the MVP. Clyde was killing in the game.
    Also we didn’t have correct information about AIDS, Back then.
    Eff you magic!

  9. fotydaze - Jun 27, 2012 at 4:06 AM

    Clyde get a clue, Magic is an icon, you’re guy that had a decent career. Respect greatness don’t hate!!!!

  10. southbeachtalent - Jun 27, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Wow, that was classy..

    I didn’t know the All Star MVP was so sacred to Clyde. Magic on a bad day was better than most of Clyde’s good days.

    He wouldn’t have been on the dream had he not been sick? Damn Clyde you lost a lot of respect there..

  11. davidcl77 - Jun 27, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    He’s not upset about that dumb Allstar game. He’s still bitter about all those years Magic kicked his ass and his Trailblazers never won a title. At least be honest, Clyde.

  12. davidcl77 - Jun 28, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    He’s not upset about the Allstar game. He’s upset that the Magic Man kicked his ass all those years, and he never won a ring while in Portland.
    Several of these old guys must be seeking attention. When this happens, they start running their mouths.

  13. jimeejohnson - Jun 30, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Drexler won an NBA championship with the 94 -95 Rockets. He was a ten time all-star, and could jump right over Magic Johnson’s head! That said, Magic Johnson was a winner, and always will be.

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