In a couple of weeks, July 10 to be exact, Jack McCallum's book about what the original Dream Team was really like is going to hit the stands; and if what the early reviews are suggesting is true, then it's going to turn some heads and bring about some animosity between a few of the players from the team.
Deadspin.com received an early copy of the book and shared one small part within it, and if the rest of the book is as sizzling, then all sports fans should rush out and grab a copy when it's available.
In the released portion, Clyde Drexler, of former Portland Trailblazer fame, absolutely bashes Magic Johnson for Magic's play at the time, his inclusion on the Dream Team, and Johnson's winning the 1992 All-Star Game MVP. At this time in Magic's career, he was publicly fighting HIV and the stereotypes that followed it, a fact that Drexler says contributed to all the perks Magic received.
"Magic was always…" And Drexler goes into a decent Magic impression: "'Come on, Clyde, come on, Clyde, get with me, get with me,' and making all that noise. And, really, he couldn't play much by that time. He couldn't guard his shadow."
"But you have to have to understand what was going on then. Everybody kept waiting for Magic to die. Every time he'd run up the court everybody would feel sorry for the guy, and he'd get all that benefit of the doubt. Magic came across like, 'All this is my stuff.' Really? Get outta here, dude. He was on the declining end of his career."
Drexler had played exquisitely in the 1992 All-Star Game in Orlando, although the MVP award eventually went to Magic, who had been added by Commissioner Stern as a special thirteenth player to the Western Conference roster. "If we all knew Magic was going to live this long, I would've gotten the MVP of that game, and Magic probably wouldn't have made the Olympic team."
Drexler, who comes off sounding like a jealous ass in these comments, was obviously irked by Magic's inclusion for some reason other than those listed because when you look at the actual play of Magic back then, he was still one of the top players in the league. In fact, Magic's Lakers actually beat Drexler's Trail Blazers in the 1991 Western Conference Finals to advance to the NBA Finals.
Stat-wise, for that '91 season, Magic averaged an impressive 19.4 points per game while turning in a combined 19.5 rebounds/assists per game. These results, by today’s measures, would give him a player efficiency rating of 25, putting him in the top 5 of players today; as per recorded stats from the 2011-2012 season.
So in the end, this all comes down to one man's jealousy of another, or total despite; and one hell of a recommendation to get Jack McCallum's upcoming book, Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: AP