Clyde Drexler RumorsAll NBA Players
My first job out of college was working for the Trail Blazers’ fan magazine, Rip City. This was the mid-’90s, the height of Blazermania, corresponding with a series of teams that came close to winning an NBA title. Still, for all the current excitement, I kept hearing references to this cult figure from the ’80s, Billy Ray Bates. You saw his number 12 jersey everywhere. When fans wrote in for contests they were asked to list their favorite Blazer; Bates would draw as many mentions as any player this side of Clyde Drexler. Everyone around town had a Bates story. A drinking story. A woman story. One employee I knew at Nike claimed to have taken Bates’s driving test for him. All this buzz for a guy who’d played only 168 games in Portland more than a decade earlier. Yet no one seemed to know what had happened to him.
But who holds the title in Oregon? Kobe Bryant (#8) of the Los Angeles Lakers. Yes, you read that right. Who’s fault is this? Do we blame the influx of Californians and other transplants, or are Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers really held in higher regard than Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler and other Portland Trail Blazers heroes of yesteryear? To be fair, Mitchell & Ness currently only has one throwback option available for Trail Blazers fans in their online store, a 1983-84 Authentic Clyde Drexler jersey that comes with a whopping $260 price tag. So, perhaps diversifying the options for Blazers fans might help the cause of former Trail Blazers players in our fair state.
Baxter Holmes: Kobe Bryant said he’s looking forward to attending the upcoming All-Star Game in Toronto and especially the opportunity to be around all the league’s top young players. “Man, I can’t wait to be around them and just talk to them and see how far the game has progressed and seeing all this young talent and the different generations of players,” Bryant said. “To me LeBron [James[ is still a young kid. I can’t even fathom that this is [year] 13 for him. That’s crazy to me. And having the generations that come after that. The [Kevin] Durant generation, you have the [Stephen] Curry generation. There’s just so many generations in between that. So it’s going to be fun for me to be around them. When I first played in the All-Star Game, imagine a 19-year-old kid walking into a locker room and there’s John Stockton with his little itty-bitty shorts, still. There’s [Charles] Barkley. There’s Clyde Drexler. There’s Gary Payton. As a 19-year-old kid, that was&.[wow].”
First came the pump fakes. Then came the sharp cuts and jabs to throw his defender off-balance. Those moves have represented Kobe Bryant’s signature traits through 20 NBA seasons. He has used them to navigate double-teams, fight Father Time and score at a prolific rate. And those skills partly stemmed from Bryant studying former Portland Trail Blazers guard Clyde Drexler, whom Bryant praised for his “unorthodox footwork.” “I learned so much from Clyde,” said Bryant, who played his final game in Portland on Saturday at Moda Center. “You look at guys who are right-handed, they normally used their left when they pivoted. Then you’re always jabbing and attacking with your right. He was the opposite. He pivoted with his right foot. So his game was a little unorthodox and harder to defend.”