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Clyde Drexler, Big3’s coach and legendary figure in American basketball

According to the opinions of relevant people, basketball is the second most popular sport behind soccer.

Those who watch the NBA like to brag about their knowledge of the history of American basketball. One million dollar question to passionate basketball spectators is: What is a common thing in a Houston golden generation in the 90s and USA dream team at the 1992 Olympic Games?

The answer is simple, Clyde “The Glide” Drexler. A true legend of this beautiful sport who won the NBA ring and the most prestigious sports event on the planet – the Olympic Games. Let’s check out the whole story about this shooting guard and later Big3’s coach.

Where did Clyde spend his college days?

Graduating from Ross Sterling high school was followed by Clyde’s recruitment by the University of Houston in 1980. His friend from childhood recommended Drexler to assistant of coach Guy Lewis as one of the most talented players of that generation.

The hero of today’s story caught the attention of NBA experts with brilliant displays during three seasons ending that period with scoring 14.4 points, making 3.3 assists, and grabbing 9.9 rebounds per game. Additionally, this shooting guard finished college with the highest number of steals in Houston’s history – 268.

How were his first seven years in the most prestigious national league on the planet?

During solid performances in college, Clyde was monitored by the scouts of the biggest NBA teams. Drexler was picked with the 14th overall pick by Portland in the 1983 Nab Draft. He averaged 7.7 points, 17.2 points, and 18.5 points per game in his first three campaigns spent in the team from Oregon.

Passionate Portland’s fans could see his progress in every area of the game, but the pinnacle of his display was in a fixture against Sacramento in 1989. In that game, the hero of today’s story went to score amazing 50 points. Afterwards, the best team result came when Portland reached final of the NBA eventually losing to Bad Boys from Detroit.

How did the remainder of Drexler’s stint with Portland look like?

After a disappointing loss against Detroit in 1989/1990, Drexler and his teammates were ambitious to go one step further in the next season. However, La Lakers surprised them in a final of the Western Conference with 4-2.

Clyde motivated the whole squad that they are capable of winning the title, but Michael Jordan was the biggest force in USA’s basketball those days. His Chicago beat Portland with 4-2 in 1992 despite Clyde averaging 24.8 per game in Final Series and being included in All-NBA First Team in that campaign.

Where did Clyde go after his tenure with Trail Blazers?

Following a lot of defeats in crucial games with Portland, Drexler wanted to play in a team that can compete at the highest level and wins major games. The decision to represent Houston was somehow logical since legendary Hakim Olajuwon won the championship with a team from Texas the previous season.

In the middle of the 1994/1995 campaign, they formed a strong duo that went on to win the title despite not so impressive 47-35 record during the regular part of the competition.  Houston played with more confidence as a team as the season passed, so the form culminated in the Big Final where Orlando was convincingly beaten.

“The Glide” contributed to that success with scoring 21.4 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and making 4.4 assists per game.

Which was his first job as a coach?

After retiring from professional basketball in Houston in 1998, Clyde decided to join his alma mater University of Houston, and became their head coach. Taking charge of the Houston Cougars from 1998 to 2000 was a special and emotional period for a hero of our story and the new era of Clyde’s life started with that appointment.  

Eventually, Drexler ended his staying in Texas with a 19-39 score throughout two campaigns and resigned in 2000. Additionally, he explained that reason for parting ways with Cougars is getting more time to spend with his family.

How much success did he have as an assistant coach in the NBA league?

Following 15 seasons spent as a player in the most popular national league on the planet, Clyde decided to become a special assistant to Kiki Vanderweghe, general manager of Nuggets, in September of 2001.

His valuable experience and knowledge were a precious asset to any coaching staff in NBA, so the Nuggets were very ambitious regarding the second half of the 2001/2002 season.

In December, Clyde Drexler got the role of an assistant coach of head coach Mike Evans and joined John MacLeod, Louie Dampier, and Kim Hughes who were other assistant coaches in the coaching staff.

What were the biggest characteristics of Drexler as a player?

Drexler had amazing jumping capabilities which enabled him to make attractive and amazing dunks during his whole career. His athleticism and speed of making decisions on the court stunned the audience all the time.

In general, it was easy to communicate with the hero of today’s story and the teammate liked playing with him. On the other side, opponents like Michael Jordan showed big respect for him and gave credit for what he was doing. Despite being a good finisher, Clyde was not considered a great long-distance shooter.

How successful was “The Glide” in the national squad?

Receiving a call to represent the USA at FIBA Ameri Cup was a dream Clyde had as a child. Being a member of the famous “Dream Team” in 1992 and playing along legendary Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley could only improve the quality of Drexler’s game. The USA went on to win the continental championship by winning convincingly against Venezuela in the final.

Afterward, the USA competed in pretty much the same roster at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Defeating Croatia in the big final and winning the gold medal in that competition was something “The Glide” can be proud of. After all, the USA’s team is considered as the strongest roster in the history of basketball.

How was his experience in Big3?

In 2017, Clyde appeared on stage as a 3×3 coach in the Big3 league. He took charge of team Power in the opening Fireball season and was a coach of players Moochie NorrisDeShawn StevensonJerome WilliamsCuttino Mobley, and Corey Maggette.  

Power reached the playoff with a 4-4 score in the regular part of the season, so they played against 3 Headed Monsters in the semi. Cuttino and his teammates lost that game and game for third place against Ghost Ballers. Players and the coach were devastated, so the “Glide” left the team at the end of the campaign.

What is current Clyde’s role in Fireball?

Following the 2017 season, Drexler replaced Roger Mason Jr. and became commissioner of Big3. Of course, his reputation as a pure professional and businessman got him the job. Jeff Quatinetz and Ice Cube warmly welcomed the former NBA star who started serving in a different role than before.

Certainly, Clyde left a big mark on American basketball and 3×3 as a player, coach, and commissioner. His leadership skills, gigantic drive, and determination to become a better version of himself on the court made a good impression on the audience in the stands.

He would have won more trophies if some circumstances were different, younger generations who want to know about the history of this amazing sport will hear about this impressive USA sports figure. Following Clyde’s footsteps is a good recipe if they want to become successful in any area of life.

About the author

Marjan Nikolic

Passionate sports guy, coming from the eastern Europe where best basketball is played (yeah, I know you will not agree!). Dynamic 3x3 basket has special place in my heart.

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