Everyone loves the Dream Team, and almost anytime anyone discusses them it comes with heaping doses of nostalgia. Except, apparently, when Clyde Drexler remembers Magic Johnson in 1992. As part of Jack McCallum's forthcoming book, Dream Team, Clyde looked back on his time with Magic as a teammate, and he seems surprisingly bitter.
His full comments to McCallum, below (via Deadspin):
"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."
Okay, on the one hand, maybe Clyde's right about the '92 MVP. It wouldn't be surprising if the MVP voters got sentimental in Orlando 20 years ago. On the other hand ... Are we really worried about whether HIV swung the voting for the 1992 All-Star MVP?
Plus, Clyde's almost definitely wrong about Magic making the Olympic team, where he was the leader for his career's work and the respect he had from everyone on the roster. Maybe that didn't sit well with Clyde then, but it's pretty amazing that he's still upset 20 years later. Like, almost as amazing as him not realizing that the HIV virus puts something like the All-Star MVP in perspective.
Anyway, for all the nostalgia and talk of Hall of Famers sacrificing their egos to make history, something like this reminds you that on a basic level, these were 10 of the most pathologically competitive athletes in basketball history, and it didn't stop just because they were all on the same team. This was a team full of players who would all remember a meaningless All-Star Game slight 20 years after the fact. Isn't that what made them the Dream Team?