Michael Jordan Told Teammates Privately Clyde Drexler Was Just as Good As Him but Didn’t ‘Know How to Play the Game’
Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls faced off against Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1992 NBA Finals. The series was sold to NBA fans as the battle between Jordan and Drexler, the two best shooting guards in basketball.
During the 1991-92 regular season, Jordan averaged 30.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.1 assists and won the MVP Award. Meanwhile, Drexler put up 25.0 points, 6.6 boards, and 6.7 assists per game. Even though Jordan won MVP, Drexler was just as dominant as a scorer and averaged more rebounds and assists.
During The Last Dance docuseries, Michael Jordan admitted he was offended when pundits compared Clyde Drexler to him. However, it’s worth mentioning that MJ used to tell his Bulls teammates that Clyde the Glide was just as good as him but didn’t know how to play the game.
Michael Jordan attacked Clyde Drexler in the 1992 Finals
Michael Jordan was so angry Clyde Drexler was being compared to him that he attacked the Blazers guard the entire series. His Airness opened the ’92 Finals by hitting six 3-pointers in the first half and scoring 39 points in Game 1.
The Bulls defeated the Blazers in six games to capture their second straight title. Jordan averaged 35.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.5 assists and won Finals MVP for the second consecutive season.
Drexler put up 24.8 points, 7.8 boards, and 5.3 assists per game against the Bulls in the ’92 Finals. However, he only shot 40.7% from the field. Meanwhile, Jordan shot 52.6%.
Jordan and Drexler wound up as teammates on the 1992 United States Men’s Olympic basketball team. Even though they got along, it must have been awkward for Drexler to play with the guy who had torched him a few months prior.
Michael Jordan openly talked about how Clyde Drexler wasn’t on his level in Episode 5 of The Last Dance, but he actually gave Drexler some props behind the scenes when he spoke to his Bulls teammates. However, in typical MJ fashion, the six-time champion also pointed out one of Clyde’s biggest flaws.
Michael Jordan on Clyde Drexler: ‘He just don’t know how to play the game’
Former Bulls guard Craig Hodges told DJ Vlad of Vlad TV shortly after The Last Dance came out that Michael Jordan thought Clyde Drexler was just as good as him. However, the Bulls legend didn’t think Clyde the Glide knew how to play the game.
“Not every great athlete is marketable,” Hodges said. “I remember having a conversation one time. It was like four of us, MJ included. And the conversations came up about Clyde Drexler. And MJ said this: ‘Clyde Drexler is just as good as me. He just don’t know how to play the game.’ And we ain’t talking about basketball.”
Craig Hodges brought up Michael Jordan’s comments about Clyde Drexler while discussing MJ’s marketability with DJ Vlad. Jordan and Drexler may have had equal talent on the court, but Clyde didn’t know how to use it to his advantage and become a global icon.
Both guards are in the Hall of Fame
Michael Jordan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 and gave one of the best speeches ever. He finished his NBA career with averages of 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in 1,072 games with the Bulls and Washington Wizards.
Clyde Drexler didn’t win six titles, six Finals MVPs, and five regular-season MVPs like Jordan did. However, he had a tremendous career and made the Hall of Fame in 2004.
A New Orleans, Louisiana, native, Drexler won his lone title in 1995 as a member of the Houston Rockets. He finished his career with averages of 20.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.6 assists in 1,086 games with the Blazers and Rockets.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.