Clyde Drexler is a member of an elite group of athletes in NBA history. He was as versatile as it gets, and was one of the league's most athletic players during his prime years. Remember, the Portland Trail Blazers decided not to draft Michael Jordan, because they already had Drexler on their team, and picked Sam Bowie instead. And while that was an evident mistake, still, with Clyde, they had a franchise player for the next decade.
In an interview with Chris Broussard on the show In The Zone, Clyde Drexler talked about competing against Michael Jordan with whom he had a rivalry for the title of best shooting guard in the league. Their most significant matchup was in the 1992 NBA Finals when the Bulls won their second straight in a 6-game series. Despite their rivalry, there was always a lot of respect between them, and Jordan rarely talked trash to Clyde.
"I loved playing against Michael, he was the nicest guy, but he is a great competitor. He never said anything to me. He asked me how I was doing, how my family was. A lot of mutual respect."
Even though Jordan is considered as the GOAT in discussions about the best players in NBA history, Clyde didn't jump on board with that conclusion. He said other players should also be in this conversation, and fans often forget players who left a significant mark in the league.
"Michael is phenomenal, and he is one of the best players I ever played against, but who is ever better than Kareem, Chamberlain or Julius Erving, Bird or Magic. I never bought into that. We are all competitors."
Even though Jordan outplayed Drexler during the 1992 finals series, Drexler held his ground and had games where he showed tremendous talent and ability to influence the game on both ends of the floor. Both Pippen and Jordan always guarded Drexler on the perimeter, but he was still able to make his impact. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to win the championship that year, but Drexler never felt there was anyone better than him, not even Jordan at that time.
"I always felt there was nobody better if I played the way I should have played. If I come out and compete, there will be only a few guys that are better, and if they are, you shake their hand and say congrats. I can compete with anyone, and it's all about performance."
What made Drexler so great, is that he wasn't the type of player that would take over games just by scoring the ball. He had tremendous ability to many different things equally great, and make his teammates better. Drexler's basketball philosophy was different than Jordan's and while one could say that he wasn't 'the killer' to the same extent as MJ — Clyde was definitely the best match the league had to offer.