There are a lot of great players who played in the NBA, and there are great ones who are still playing right now. One of the all-time greats to ever play the game goes by the name of Clyde Drexler.
Now people don’t put Drexler in the same category as Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson, but he was still one of the most dominant players during his career. The Hall of Famer won a championship playing with the Houston Rockets and was a member of the 1992 Dream Team.
A Portland Trail Blazers legend
Clyde Drexler NBA career started in Portland playing for the Trail Blazers. He was drafted in the 1983 NBA draft by Portland after a stellar college career at the University of Houston. As a rookie, Drexler got off to a slow start. But that quickly changed in year two.
The 6’7 shooting guard/small forward had a breakout season during his sophomore year. He went from averaging 7.7 points per game to 17.2 points in his second season. Drexler was starting to fit well in the league, and he was becoming a dominant scorer.
In his third year, he became an All-Star and continued as one of the top scorers in the league. Drexler showed a glimpse of an NBA great early on in his career, and he continued to work on his game and get better and better.
Drexler’s success didn’t lead to a championship in Portland
During the 1989-90 season, Drexler led the Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals. In the finals, he averaged 26.4 points and 7.8 rebounds, but that wasn’t enough as his team would eventually lose to the Detroit Pistons. Portland was set to make another trip back to the finals the next year as they finished the regular season with a 63-19 record. They were favored to win the west but lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
Though Drexler continued to have success on the court, he wanted to become an NBA champion than focus on individual accomplishments. It seemed as if Portland’s window was closing to win an NBA title.
Joining the Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets won the NBA title in 1994. Drexler wanted to play for a team that could compete for a championship, so a year after the Rockets won the title, Drexler joins the team. That season the Rockets found themselves back in the finals for a second straight year.
Drexler finally got an NBA title as the Rockets swept the Orlando Magic 4-0. The 10-time All-Star got to add an NBA championship to an already impressive resume. He would finish his career playing with the Rockets. After 15 seasons in the league, his No. 22 jersey was retired both by the Trail Blazers and the Rockets. He finished his career averaging 20.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game. Drexler was also named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Career after the NBA
When Drexler retired, he did not step away from the game. In 1998 he went back to his alma mater, University of Houston, and became the head coach of the men’s basketball team. His coaching career was not long-only coaching two seasons in which the team finished with losing records.
In 2018, he was named commissioner of the Big3, a three-on-three league that features from NBA players. He also serves as a color commentator for Houston Rockets home games. There’s no question that Drexler is one of the best players and scorers ever to play the game, and he made a significant impact during his time in the NBA.