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Thursday, June 28th, 2012 at 9:20 am  |  8 responses

Clyde Drexler Denies Anti-Magic Johnson Comments in Dream Team Book


In the highly-anticipated tome written by Jack McCallum about the legendary Dream Team, Clyde Drexler said some fairly shocking things about Magic Johnson (in brief: that everyone felt sorry for Johnson during the Barcelona Olympics, and were “waiting for Magic to die” due to HIV.) When the story blew up yesterday, Drexler came out and vehemently denied the quotes attributed to him. Per the AP: “Drexler said in a phone interview that the quotes attributed to him were ‘totally ludicrous’ and he has ‘no idea’ where McCallum got them. In a statement released through the Houston Rockets, Drexler says he would’ve never said those things and that Johnson is one of his closest long-time friends. ‘Magic and I have a friendship that goes back more than 28 years and I would never say such hurtful things,’ Drexler’s statement said. ‘I have reached out to Magic to assure him that I did not say those things and to apologize to him and his family for even having to respond to something as baseless as this.’ McCallum’s book is due out on July 10. On his Web site, McCallum said the excerpt is accurate. Deadspin.com ran the excerpt on Tuesday, and McCallum said the site mischaracterized the context. Drexler was referring to the opinion of many people in the league, McCallum said, and not specifically members of the 1992 Olympic team. Drexler, now an analyst for the Rockets’ locally televised games, said in the statement that he was one of Johnson’s biggest supporters in the wake of the diagnosis that led to his retirement in November 1991. ‘I take great exception to having such comments attributed to me,’ Drexler said. ‘I have nothing but love and respect for Magic Johnson and all that he has accomplished in basketball and in life. I always took pride in being a great teammate throughout my career and I would never have made the statements that were reported in Jack McCallum’s book.’ McCallum interviewed Drexler at his home and got the sense that Drexler felt snubbed when he wasn’t one of the first 10 players named to the much-celebrated team. He was added to the team later, along with Duke’s Christian Laettner.”

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  • http://www.twitter.com/_dfrance dfrance21

    I see how the statement sounds bad, but you have to think about it in the context of the time. Someone being HIV positive back in 92 was basically looked at as a death sentence. Most people assumed he would die. Arsenio is one of his best friends and in that Magic docu he said “I thought he would get skinny and die.” It was just the way of thinking back then and Clyde probably said something along those lines and it was taken out of context.

  • bike

    Never understood why an author would unearth a comment made 20 years that is bound to infuriate the person who made it and the person is was directed at. Either make sure the quote is accompanied with the appropriate context or don’t mention it at all.

  • ratguts

    @bike Because it sells books bruh.

  • almstep

    Drexler was one of the greatest players of all time. He was consistently overlooked because he was in a small market (portland), and was refreshingly unassuming and soft spoken. I still have his 50 point card. He would never say anything to disrespect magic. Drexler was a better player anyway.

  • http://www.twitter.com/_dfrance dfrance21

    He was largely overlooked because of that Jordan guy, but a better player than Magic? Nah.

  • Dee

    I wouldn’t put him past making a statement like that. Back when Magic made the announcement, I too thought he was going to die and I”m a diehard fan who idolized Magic growing up. I guess I wasn’t the only ignorant person when it came to HIV Virus. No one really knew how to deal with it and we knew some players had a problem with playing against him. Karl Malone was probably the only person brave enough to speak his mind and admit it! I guess the fallout between Magic and Zeke has Clyde trying to clean this up ASAP! On a serious note, I’m glad most of us were wrong back when that announcment was made.

  • Basketball iQ

    im embarrassed for anyone who was ignorant enough to speak out AT/ABOUT magic.

  • Basketball iQ

    It goes without saying, drexler is not better than magic.

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