Michael Jordan used the Last Dance to drag up old feuds and one former sparring partner simply can’t stand the trait that defined His Airness.
Clyde Drexler didn’t need to see The Last Dance to understand Michael Jordan any more than he already does.
“I lived it,” the former Portland Trail Blazers star and early 1990s Jordan foe told SportsTalk 790’s A-Team this week. “That’s Michael’s documentary, of course it’s going to be from his perspective. It was a golden era and everybody is entitled to their own opinion.
“In that era, there were nothing but men, real men who played. A lot of times guys didn’t like each other from other teams, but as you get older, you’ve got to get beyond all of that and show some love and some respect for the people you played with and against.
“I hope Michael was able to do that in his documentary.”
Drexler, a Hall of Famer and 10-time All-Star during his 14-season NBA career, may have missed seeing some updated trash talk in Jordan’s documentary, but it was certainly there as it was made obvious bad blood His Airness developed with rivals in his playing career still festers today.
Jordan relived the 1992 NBA Finals, in which his Chicago Bulls beat Drexler’s Blazers in six games. Jordan averaged 35 points per game in the series.
“Clyde was a threat,” Jordan said. “But me being compared to him, I took offence to that.”
Getting another taste of Jordan’s petty, ultra-competitive nature seemed to reignite their decades-old rivalry.
“This is a team game, it’s not one guy,” Drexler said. “You can have 50 points and 40 rebounds but if you lose, are you less of a player than anybody on the other team? No, it’s a team game.
“So I hate when people act like it’s an individual competition. I didn’t take 35 shots and get 20 free throws a night, so I wasn’t going to score 40 points a night.
“One thing I can’t stand is people trying to get better as the years go by. You were who you were back then and that’s who you are today.”
Drexler also took issue with the ongoing GOAT debate being a two-man race between Jordan, his 1992 Dream Team comrade, and LeBron James. The limited arguments take away from a host of other NBA legends who should be in the debate, he said.
“I have a real problem with that, for all these guys who played the game, for you to have a conversation, are these two guys the GOAT when you got Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, two of the greatest players that ever lived, you start with those two,” Drexler explained.
“And then you’ve got guys like Dr. J (Julius Irving), Larry Bird, George Gervin, Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West … all those guys are in the conversation.
“For people bringing this up today, to me, it’s unbelievable. And I love Michael and LeBron, but let’s not take something away from those other guys who played.”
This article first appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission