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Jordan, Drexler Discuss Competitive Relationship After ‘92 Olympics

The two Hall of Famers discussed their competitive rapport with Jackie MacMullan on The Ringer’s Icon Club.

Portland Trail Blazers Clyde Drexler and Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan, 1992 NBA Finals Set Number: X42995

In running through the Barcelona Olympics within an average victory margin of 43.8 points and changing the NBA’s global landscape, the 1992 Dream Team is, in most circles, remembered as the greatest team ever constructed. For Portland Trail Blazers supporters, it’s also remembered primarily for the lengthy list of stories surrounding Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler. In her “Icons Club” series, celebrated columnist Jackie MacMullan joined The Ringer to shed new light on that very subject.

Despite the aforementioned story, in this piece, both Drexler and Jordan speak affectionately about the positives of their relationship. According to Drexler, despite the discussions ranging long into the night about who the “greatest in the game” was in 1992, vibes were positive and cordial, a rarity in that ultra-competitive era.

Wives and kids came and went. The atmosphere was congenial, playful. Any lingering tension from previous NBA encounters had dissipated.

“Everybody kind of let it go,” Clyde Drexler says. “And it was one of those deals where everyone was kind, you had the wives and the families there. So we were all one. And it was great because back then, guys, if you were on a different team, they really didn’t like you.”

It’s said, in fact, that Drexler was among those Jordan began to respect most after their experiences. Thirty years after their back-and-forth battle in the 1992 NBA Finals, the two keep those competitive juices flowing through golfing.

Jordan hadn’t lost his edge, but he did walk away from Barcelona with renewed respect for many of his comrades, primarily Drexler, the man he seemed hell-bent on tormenting when the journey began.

“I spend more time with Clyde Drexler, playing golf with Clyde Drexler, knowing that the competition in ’92, we was Portland against Chicago, who’s better, who’s blah blah blah,” Jordan says. “We play golf, we joke around, we text each other. To me, that’s the product of what the Dream Team did.

“We talk all the time.”

Both were key contributors to the 8-0, gold medal team. Across those eight games, the Blazers legend averaged 10.5 points (on just 8.0 shots), 3.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.5 steals on 57.8 percent shooting.

Along the rest of the article, Bill Walton — another former Portland all-timer — shared thoughts on the Dream Team’s top scorer, Charles Barkley, and his role in diplomacy and making the Dream Team a larger-than-life spectacle. MacMullan hits on this, the fanfare in Barcelona, and the competitive stories of that era’s best, among much else.