Clyde Drexler Claims Dream Team Pitied Magic Johnson Because of HIV
Deadspin has an excerpt from an upcoming book from Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum. The book, due out July 10th, is titled Dream Team, and it covers the famous collection of NBA superstars as they dominate the world.
As for Drexler, he remembers the team as a bunch of guys who felt pity for Magic Johnson, a man who he states had diminished greatly in his skills.
If you want a reason for him to be on the famed team, it was because of his assumed death sentence in the form of the HIV virus he carried.
Here is the excerpt, lengthy but well worth the read:
"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 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."
Someone is a bitter critter, and it pretty much zaps every last cool point from the legendary Trail Blazer.
You really have to love the revisionist history of a man who just can't let go of the past.
Sure, Magic Johnson may not have been in his prime, but the same could have been said about other players. Hell, Larry Bird could hardly practice because of his ailing back.
Did Bird get preferential treatment? Perhaps, but more so because he was one of the best to have ever played prior to that point, a reason the NBA enjoyed a spike in ratings during the '80s and was deserving to be on a team that was Hall of Fame-laden.
The same goes for Magic Johnson.
Did he lose a step? Sure, but that hardly stopped him and the Lakers from dismissing the Blazers in the playoffs a year earlier.
It hardly stopped Johnson from matching wits with others in Dream Team practices famous for their intensity.
As for the midseason classic, let's say Drexler wins the 1992 All-Star MVP, an accolade that is fairly meaningless in the grand scheme of things. We would all have forgotten about it by now.
But not Magic's win.
That moment was drenched in poignancy and goodwill and was one of the best moments in All-Star history.
Drexler's words hurt, but only the image of a man who comes off as a bitter mess decades after such celebration. That would be the image of Clyde Drexler.
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