Roger Clemens, Clyde Drexler, and Sheryl Swoopes share more than a mutual history of super-stardom here — they all also wore the same number. Now, these three legends who donned No. 22 will be honored in our own hall of fame.
The fifth annual Houston Sports Awards will induct Clemens, Drexler, and Swoopes into the 2022 Houston Sports Hall of Fame at Wortham Center at 6 pm Wednesday, April 20. The elegant affair boasts a Casino Royale flair and — in honor of No. 22 — a “Deuces Wild” theme. Celebrity guests include Simone Biles, Hannah Storm, and Toby Keith.
This legendary trio hardly needs much backstory. Clemens, a graduate of Spring Woods High School, quickly rose to fame with his intimidating, blistering pitches that earned him the nickname “Rocket” and seven Cy Young Awards over 24 seasons — an MLB record. At University of Texas, Clemens led the team to a College World Series title in 1983. Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, Clemens was traded to the New York Yankees, securing two World Series titles. He spent 12 seasons with the Boston Red Sox and later, came home to the Astros.
Also another hometown legend, Drexler graduated from Sterling High School and later became a founding member of University of Houston’s Phi Slama Jama teams, taking them to two Final Four runs. Glossed “Clyde the Glide” for the way he soared through the air, Drexler spent 12 seasons with the Portland Trailblazers. In 1995, he was part of a blockbuster trade that brought him home to the Houston Rockets, where he joined UH alum and superstar Hakeem Olajuwon. The duo helped the Rockets clinch their second consecutive NBA title. His No. 22 jersey was retired by both the Rockets and Trailblazers.
“This is a tremendous honor, the Houston Sports Hall of Fame,” said Drexler, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame member, in a statement, “with world renowned athletes and contributors that are part of that, and to be included is a tremendous honor.’’
Texas Tech standout Swoopes led the Red Raiders to an NCAA title in 1993. She was the first player to sign with the WNBA’s Houston Comets, where she led the team to the first four WNBA titles. Famed for giving birth to a son during a season, Swoopes is a three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player, a three-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, and a two-time WNBA scoring champion. She is also a three-time Olympic gold medalist and is a member of the basketball hall of fame.
“This is special,” Swoopes said in a statement. “It ranks right up there with the Naismith Hall of Fame for the simple fact that no, I wasn’t born in Houston, but Houston has been home to me for 20 something years. I know the talent that’s come through the city and the people that live in the city and Houston has done nothing but show me love and support, so for me to go into the Hall of Fame with Clyde and Roger is just amazing.’’
For more information on the Sports Awards, visit www.HoustonSportsAwards.com.