Lillard’s Homage to Drexler Sparks Fresh Debate on Blazers’ All-Time Best

"Lillard's Homage to Drexler Sparks Fresh Debate on Blazers' All-Time Best"
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In a heartfelt and nostalgic gesture, Damian Lillard, the current face of the Portland Trail Blazers, paid homage to one of the franchise’s all-time greats, Clyde Drexler. On Sunday, Lillard shared a video clip on his social media that showcased one of Drexler’s most iconic moments—a finger-roll layup executed from the free-throw line during a game against the Houston Rockets. The caption on Lillard’s Instagram story read, “So tough, Glide,” acknowledging Drexler’s remarkable skill and contribution to the game.

Drexler’s famous layup took place during the first round of the 1993–94 NBA playoffs. Despite the Blazers losing the series to the Rockets in four games, Drexler’s performance remains etched in the memories of basketball enthusiasts. His elegant yet powerful playing style earned him the nickname “The Glide,” a testament to his smooth and effortless movement on the court.

This social media post by Lillard has reignited a long-standing debate among fans and analysts:The debate is about who is the greatest Portland Trail Blazer of all time—Damian Lillard or Clyde Drexler?

Clyde Drexler’s tenure with the Blazers spanned from 1983 to 1995. During these 12 seasons, he established himself as a cornerstone of the franchise. Drexler averaged 20.8 points per game, with shooting splits of 47.8% from the field, and also contributed 6.1 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. His impact was immediate and profound, leading the Blazers to nine consecutive playoff appearances.


Drexler’s leadership was instrumental in taking the Blazers to the NBA Finals twice. The first appearance was in the 1989–90 season when Portland faced off against the Detroit Pistons but lost in five games. The second Finals run came in 1991–92, ending in a six-game defeat to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. Despite these setbacks, Drexler’s performances during these runs solidified his legacy as one of the best to ever don a Blazers jersey.


After leaving the Blazers, Drexler joined the Houston Rockets, where he eventually won an NBA championship. His move to Houston marked the end of an era for Portland, but it also highlighted his enduring greatness as he continued to excel at the highest levels of competition.


Damian Lillard was drafted by the Blazers in 2012 and quickly became the team’s driving force. Known for his clutch shooting and deep three-pointers, Lillard has provided countless memorable moments for the Blazers faithful. Over his 11 seasons with Portland, Lillard led the team to the playoffs eight times. His best playoff performance came in the 2018-19 season, when the Blazers reached the Western Conference Finals, only to be swept by the Golden State Warriors.


Lillard’s individual achievements are noteworthy. He broke Drexler’s all-time scoring record for the franchise during the 2022–23 season, underscoring his offensive prowess. Yet, despite his scoring accolades and numerous All-Star selections, Lillard’s tenure in Portland has been marked by playoff disappointments, as the team never advanced to the NBA Finals under his leadership.

In the 2023–24 season, Lillard joined the Milwaukee Bucks, seeking a fresh start and a better chance at an NBA title. His departure from Portland has left fans to reflect on his legacy and compare it with that of Drexler.


The debate over who is the greatest Trailblazer is fueled by the different eras and contexts in which Drexler and Lillard played. Drexler’s era was characterized by a more physically demanding style of play, where his versatility and athleticism were key. In contrast, Lillard’s career has thrived in an era dominated by three-point shooting and high-paced offenses, where his shooting range and clutch performances have made him a standout.


Supporters of Drexler point to his leadership in taking the team to the NBA Finals twice and his all-around contributions on both ends of the court. On the other hand, Lillard’s advocates emphasize his loyalty to the franchise, his scoring records, and his unforgettable game-winning shots.

From a journalistic standpoint, the comparison between Lillard and Drexler highlights the evolution of the game of basketball and the changing dynamics of the NBA. Drexler’s physicality and all-around game versus Lillard’s perimeter shooting and modern-day heroics make for an intriguing discussion on how different players can leave indelible marks on a franchise.

The admiration Lillard has shown for Drexler through his social media posts is a testament to the respect and camaraderie that span generations of athletes. It serves as a reminder that while statistics and achievements can be debated, mutual respect among players is what ultimately defines the legacy of a sports franchise.

Alex Turner
What's up, hoops enthusiasts! I'm Alex Turner, a basketball junkie with a playbook for a heart. As a former player and coach, I've taken my love for the game and turned it into a journey of analysis and insight. My articles aim to break down the game's strategies, dissect crucial plays, and offer a glimpse into the tactical intricacies that make basketball an art. From the NBA to college hoops, I'm your go-to guy for decoding the language of the court. Let's dive deep into the world of basketball together!

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