SAN ANTONIO -- Nicknames have followed Clyde Drexler
throughout his basketball career.
In college, he played for the electrifying "Phi Slama Jama"
teams at the University of Houston. As a pro, he was Clyde "The
Glide" for his speed, ball handling and swooping moves to the
As an Olympian, he played on the first "Dream Team."
Now, he can add something a little more formal: Hall of Famer.
Drexler was one of six former players, coaches and team
executives announced as the newest members of the Naismith
Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Joining him are Lynette Woodard, an Olympic gold medalist and
first female Harlem Globetrotter, Bill Sharman, already in the hall
as a player who will be inducted as coach, the late Maurice Stokes,
the 1956 NBA rookie of the year, Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the
Phoenix Suns, and Drazen Dalipagic, an international star from
The inductees were announced Monday in San Antonio, where Connecticut and Georgia Tech will play for the NCAA title tonight. UConn coach Jim Calhoun and ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale were among those nominees not elected to the Hall of Fame.
Drexler, who in 1997 was named one of the NBA's 50 greatest
players, was humbled to be a new member of the hall.
"I grew up watching a lot of them and to be in the same class
as they are is phenomenal," Drexler said. "It kind of validates
your career as a basketball player. I think that I'm the luckiest
man in the world."
In college, he played in two Final Fours. In his 15-year NBA
career, Drexler led the Portland Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals in
1990 and '92, and won a championship with Houston in 1995.
"The fun is in the journey whether you win or lose, you've got
to have fun," he said.
Milwaukee Bucks coach Terry Porter, who played alongside Drexler
in Portland from 1980 to 1995, said his old teammate and partner at
guard was a "very deserving" choice for the Hall of Fame.
"He's achieved everything there is to achieve in professional
sports," Porter said of Drexler. "As a player, he's the kind of
person that would give you the shirt off his back."
Woodard averaged 26 points per game at Kansas and was co-captain
of U.S. team that won an Olympic gold medal in 1984. She also
played professionally in Europe and two seasons in the WNBA.
Woodard served as interim head coach at Kansas this season in
place of Marian Washington, who announced in January she was taking
a medical leave and retired in February.
"I started out with a love for the game," she said. "This is
A pioneer of the women's game, she recently attended a practice
for a high school all-star team at the women's Final Four in New
"Their bodies and arms are totally cut and they run like deer
and racehorses and with attitude and passion," Woodard said.
Sharman, inducted as a player in 1976, won titles as a coach in
the ABL, the ABA and the NBA. In the 1972 season, he led the Los
Angeles Lakers to a 69-13 record, including an NBA record 33-game
He joins John Wooden and Lenny Wilkens as the only members
enshrined as a player and a coach.
"As a player, I felt I deserved it because of all my hard work.
As a coach, I want to give my players credit," Sharman said.
"They are the reason I'm in as a coach, they're the ones I want to
Stokes, the league's top rookie in '56, had his career cut short
when he was paralyzed in his third season when he fell during a
game. He died at the age of 36 in 1970.
Colangelo was named general manager of the Suns at the age of 28
and is a four-time NBA executive of the year. He also was
instrumental in creating the WNBA.
Dalipagic was a three time European player of the year, leading
his country to 12 medals in European, World and Olympic
competition, including the Olympic gold at the Moscow games in
Yet even with his renowned international career, Hall of Fame
officials misspelled his name "Dalapagic" on his induction
The six inductees will be enshrined in a Sept. 10 ceremony in
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.