What I am Listening to: USA TODAY Sports activities’ Mark Medina breaks down the NBA’s choices for resuming the season and whether or not the league will have to proceed the common season or move instantly to the playoffs.


A mean of just about five.6 million other folks watched “The Ultimate Dance” documentary on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Former NBA big name Clyde Drexler used to be now not one in every of them.

“I did not watch it. I lived it,” Drexler instructed USA TODAY Sports activities with fun. “Optimistically down the street, I’ll get some alternatives to try this.”

When that can be? Who is aware of. Drexler joked he has a handful of books and Netflix presentations to eat first. Drexler additionally has his personal documentary to observe.

NBA TV will premier “Rip Town Revival” on Sunday at eight ET, an hour-long documentary on how the Portland Path Blazers seemed in two NBA Finals and 3 consecutive Western Convention finals from 1989-92.

“I liked taking part in with the ones guys,” Drexler mentioned. “They don’t get sufficient credit score. That’s why I like ‘Rip Town Revival.’ It talks about them and their contributions to the group. We had been an actual group.”

That group didn’t finish any of its seasons by means of dousing every different with champagne. Portland misplaced to the Detroit Pistons in 5 video games within the 1990 NBA Finals, to the Los Angeles Lakers in 5 video games within the 1991 West finals and to the Bulls in six video games within the 1992 NBA Finals.

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That barely diminishes what the Path Blazers completed despite the fact that. They averaged 60 wins all over that three-year window, together with a league-best 63-19 report within the 1990-91 season. Portland cemented this résumé in opposition to the Bulls, Pistons, Lakers and Boston Celtics, all of whom had long term Corridor-of-Famers.

“To make it to the Finals again then, you needed to be actually, actually just right,” Drexler mentioned. “We had been lucky at all times to be within the combine in the ones 3 years and feature an excellent likelihood to play for a identify. In the event you’re in group sports activities, that’s all you’ll be able to ask for. This isn’t a person game like tennis or golfing.”

Now and again the NBA can turn out to be a person game, no less than to most people.

In “The Ultimate Dance,” Jordan conceded he “took offense” to comparisons to Drexler, in spite of taking into consideration him “a risk.” Former Lakers big name Magic Johnson recalled that Jordan instructed him the night time prior to Recreation 1 in 1992: “I will give it to this dude.” Jordan then scored 39 issues, together with six Three-pointers within the first part, which ended in his well-known shrug.

Just about 28 years later, Drexler respectfully declined to interact in any trash communicate. He laughed and expressed foggy reminiscence of joking with former NBA on NBC reporter Ahmed Rashad that Jordan “stole all of my strikes.” Drexler mentioned the Blazers challenged Chicago in a six-game collection that he known as “extremely aggressive.”

“Everybody has a wholesome appreciate for every different at this level in their lifestyles,” Drexler mentioned. “You must take it in viewpoint. We had been really aggressive. I haven’t observed (the documentary). So I don’t understand how to reply to your query. However I’ve a large number of appreciate for Michael and Magic. I want them not anything however smartly.”

Drexler additionally has a large number of appreciate for his Path Blazers coaches, teammates and fanatics.

He known as former trainer Rick Adelman “a low-key gamers’ trainer” for a way he listened, motivated and satisfied gamers to embody their roles. He expressed condolences on the passing of Jerome Kersey, Kevin Duckworth and Drazen Petrovic, all of whom Drexler known as “my brothers.”

Drexler singled out Kersey for his power, protection, rebounding and physicality. He regarded as Greenback Williams “some of the superb offensive facilities within the league” as a result of his put up presence, mid-range recreation and athleticism. He classified Terry Porter “some of the superb Three-point shooters within the recreation” after taking pictures 38.6% from deep in 17 seasons. It helped clearly that Drexler changed into a 10-time All-Famous person and some of the league’s superb scorers.

Drexler believed the ones qualities helped the Blazers compete in opposition to different NBA stars, together with Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Dominique Wilkins, Karl Malone, George Gervin and David Robinson. But, the Bulls, Lakers and Celtics attracted extra national consideration than the Path Blazers. That is k. Drexler mentioned the Blazers embraced changing into a “blue-collar group” in a town that resembled what he known as “a school setting.” He mentioned the group remained concerned with quite a lot of group initiative with native hospitals and homeless safe haven.

“I loved it as a result of there is not any different game in Portland. You get the entire consideration,” Drexler mentioned. “That’s just right and unhealthy. Excellent while you’re profitable and unhealthy while you’re dropping. However they liked it. They had been enthusiastic about their Blazers.”

Portland’s id shaped step by step. After deciding on Drexler at No. 14 in 1983, the Blazers regretfully drafted Sam Bowie over Jordan the next 12 months at No. 2. Portland discovered overdue gemstones in Kersey (No. 46 in 1984) and Porter (No. 24 in 1985). Earlier than the 1989 draft, Portland received Williams from the New Jersey Nets for Bowie and the No. 12 select.

“Once we were given Greenback Williams, let me let you know, I knew we might make it to the Finals. I knew it,” Drexler mentioned. “We had each to be had element we had to beat the nice groups.”

That would possibly not were sufficient for the Path Blazers to win an NBA identify. Drexler skilled that during 1995 once you have traded to the Houston Rockets. However Drexler hopes audience recognize Portland’s affect after gazing “Rip Town Revival.”

“It provides them some content material. Everyone seems to be ravenous for content material at the moment,” mentioned Drexler, who presented sympathy for the ones suffering from the pandemic. “This nation wishes sports activities, accept as true with me. However most effective when it’s protected.”

Apply USA TODAY NBA author Mark Medina on Twitter, Fb and Instagram.


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