Clyde Drexler is a retired shooter guard/small forward from the University of Houston who played for the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets.
Drexler was born in New Orleans in 1962. He grew in the South Park neighborhood of Houston, Texas. As a young child he was taught the skills of basketball by his older brother, James. As a high-schooler at Sterling, Drexler excelled at basketball, baseball, and football. Basektball was his best sport, and he decided to concentrate on it.
Drexler enrolled at the University of Houston in 1980. Along with Akeem Olajuwon and Larry Micheaux he formed "Phi Slamma Jamma," a powerful trio that would make the university a powerhouse. While there Drexler and the Cougars went to two Final Fours, in 1982 and 1983.
After his junior year, he declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft. The Houston Rockets had the 1st and 3rd picks in that year's draft, and Clyde hoped to be a Rocket, but he was picked 14th by the Portland TrailBlazers. He averaged 7.7 points per game in his rookie year. He would have frequent arguments with the Blazer's coach, Jack Ramsay and also with his replacement, Mike Schuler, when Ramsay was fired.
In 1986 Drexler was named an All-Star for the first time. He steadily improved. In 1988-89 his scoring average was 22.2. Drexler was often compared to Michael Jordan. In 1990 the Blazers made it to the NBA Finals but lost in five games to the Detroit Pistons. They would again make the NBA Finals in 1992 but lost in six games to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. That season he finished second in the voting for the NBA's Most Valuable Player behind Jordan.
He was named to the 1992 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team who would win Gold. He would stay with the Trail Blazers for two more full seasons and was traded midway through the 1994-95 season to the Houston Rockets after he requested to be traded to a contender. The Rockets would win the NBA Championship in 1995 winning against the Orlando Magic in four games. He would go on to play with the Rockets three more seasons and average at least 18.0 points per game in each of those seasons. On May 3, 1998 Drexler retired from the NBA. He went on to coach the University of Houston for two seasons with a combined record of 19-39.
His nickname is Clyde the Glide. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. Drexler was known for his silky smooth drives toward the basket, excellent defense, and great passing. He was a ten-time All-Star and named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All Time NBA Team, and is a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee.
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