'The Glide' salutes his start: 'Obviously, I am going in as a Blazer'

Clyde 'the Glide' Drexler had accomplished just about everything during his storied basketball career Ñ an NBA championship, the Dream Team and the 50 Greatest Players club Ñ but now the legend is complete.

On Monday, Drexler and five others were named to the class of '04 for enshrinement in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies are Sept. 10 in Springfield, Mass.

'This is right up there with anything I've done,' Drexler told the Tribune. 'As a team accomplishment, winning the NBA title (with Houston in 1995) was the ultimate. As an individual, the Hall of Fame is the ultimate.

'But really, making the Hall of Fame is a reflection of the coaches I have played for and the players I have played with along the way. Coaches such as Guy Lewis, Jack Ramsay, Rick Adelman and Rudy Tomjanovich. Players such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Terry Porter, Buck Williams and Jerome Kersey.

'I have been lucky to have great coaches and great teammates. It's been a unbelievable run, and I thank every one of them.'

Drexler, 41, joins Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo, former NBA player and coach Bill Sharman, women's standout Lynnette Woodard, Yugoslavian Drazen Dalipagic and the late Maurice Stokes in this year's class.

'I hope somebody pinches me and wakes me up. It still feels like a dream,' Drexler said during a teleconference from San Antonio, where he was attending the Final Four.

Portland made the 6-7 Drexler the 14th pick in the 1983 draft out of the University of Houston, where he played with Olajuwon and led the Cougars to consecutive Final Four appearances.

In 11 1/2 seasons with Portland, he was an all-star eight times and guided the Blazers to the NBA Finals in 1990 and '92. He holds nearly every career offensive individual record for the franchise. After being traded to Houston in February 1995, he teamed with Olajuwon to win the '95 NBA title.

Hall of Fame rules stipulate that inductees represent themselves and are not affiliated with the team or teams they played for. The plaques at the hall do not show the player in a specific uniform.

But Drexler Ñ a Houston native who played his college ball, finished his pro career in the city and continues to have his primary residence there Ñ said his emotional attachment remains in Portland.

'I was with Portland for 11 1/2 seasons,' Drexler said. 'I was a Rocket for 3 1/2 seasons. Obviously, I am going in (to the hall) as a Blazer. That is the team that drafted me. It all starts in the beginning. They were the team that had the confidence to draft me. To put their faith and their future in your hands says a lot. I respect that.'

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