You’ve seen the highlight reels, read the stats, seen the games. Everyone knows of Clyde Drexler as the high-flying, scoring sensation. But what’s the legend like in person?
With his NBA championship, Olympic gold medal and status as basketball hall of famer, it’s a treat to find that NBA legend Clyde Drexler is as cheerful and friendly as your neighborhood basketball buddy. During his time with the Portland Trailblazers and Houston Rockets, the man nicknamed The Glide clocked-in some phenomenal hang-time. Amazing, then, that he’s so down-to-earth in person.
Thanks to Solar Entertainment and the NBA, local hoops fans will be able to see this class act in person. Clyde, along with the Portland Trailblazers and Orlando Magic dancers, will be taking part in NBA Madness, an interactive series of basketball-themed events taking place in SM Malls and various colleges.
And the man is psyched to finally meet us! “I think it's phenomenal, the fact that the Philippines loves basketball!” he enthused. “You have some very good leagues of basketball here, and have had them for many, many years. Basketball is kinda like music. It crosses all genres. It brings people together, and I'm delighted to be a part of that. (It’s great to be) taking part in a sport that brings people together. It's sort of like Manny Pacquiao, how much he's loved (by everyone). That's what sports are able to do. It crosses all boundaries.”
During the press conference for NBA Madness, the legend mingled with with the gusto and excitement of a rookie. He also recalled his time in the 1992 Olympic team as if the Barcelona games happened yesterday. “The Dream Team of ’92... we had Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, John Stockton, Scotty Pippen, Michael Jordan. All these guys in the same team,” Clyde enumerated, almost swooning. “While you’re still young enough to compete? That just makes it better! I was lucky enough to be on that team and what a pleasure.”
Clyde then took the time to explain why being in the Dream Team was such an important part of his career: “That was the first time that (professional) American athletes were able to participate in the sport of basketball in the Olympics. Before the Dream Team, our collegiate players played in the Olympics. But the European players got so good that they were just beating them down. So we got professional players to play in the Olympics. It was such an honor, it was great to be on that team. We were a pretty good team. And I had a great experience.”
The NBA legend is secure enough in his legacy and achievements that he often jokes about his age and physical condition. When asked whether he can still slam dunk, he laughs and jests: “It hurts It hurts when you land. I can still do it, but I’d need a hospital bed!” It’s all slight exaggeration in the name of humor, of course. At 49, Clyde is as sprightly as people decades younger.
Clyde even talked about his stint at Dancing with the Stars. “It was a lot of fun!” he insisted. “But I realized right away I was not a good dancer. You can't be afraid to do things you're not good at… you gotta participate.” When asked whether his time in the show was as significant as his basketball achievements, Clyde breaks down laughing. “Whooo, that's a tough question! Dancing with the stars is in third place, I can tell you that. The Olympic gold medal is special because you have the eyes of the world watching you. But that NBA championship is something that you've dreamed about for many, many years. It's a toss-up. I'd like to have all three. But I know one of them is not possible. So I'd settle with two, the world (NBA) championship and a gold medal.
“Dancing with the Stars… I might need some help from my friends over there,” Clyde said,
motioning to the Portland Trailblazers and Orlando Magic dancers in attendance. “And it still might not happen!”
Yup, it’s fair to say Manila will be having one heck of a time playing host to the man they call The Glide!