Former Houston Rockets legend Clyde Drexler is denying a quote attributed to him by former Sports Illustrated writer Jack McCallum, whose book on the 1992 "Dream Team" is set to be released next week.
A quote from Drexler about the health of Magic Johnson, a "Dream Team" member in '92 who had announced he was HIV positive just a year prior was part of an excerpt published at Deadspin, and has caused controversey since its release (courtesy of the Houston Chronicle):
The book excerpt quoted Drexler as saying that Johnson "couldn’t play much by that time" and that teammates felt sorry for him. "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," the book quoted Drexler as saying.
McCallum has issued a statement standing by the quote, however, he takes umbrage with Deadspin's headline, that implied the entire team pitied and catered to Johnson because of his HIV. Drexler, for his part, denies the quote entirely and reaffirmed his support of Magic both then and now.
One interesting note? Context: The book also features a passage in which Drexler alone supported Magic's return to the NBA post-diagnosis, but that hasn't been published yet. Ideally, we'd all be best suited to reserve scrutiny until McCallum's entire book goes to print next week.