HOUSTON SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2022 ROGER CLEMENS, CLYDE DREXLER, AND SHERYL SWOOPES
HOUSTON – Deuces Wild is the theme, and Houston’s “22’s” are sure to make it a Full-House!
The fifth annual Houston Sports Awards presented by Insperity will trade the traditional dinner event for an elegant Casino Royale backdrop at the Wortham Center to honor three iconic Houston athletes who wore No. 22 — Roger Clemens, Clyde Drexler and Sheryl Swoopes — as the 2022 Class of the Houston Sports Hall of Fame.
The inductees will be honored in a theater-style event on February 3, 2022.
Clemens, a Spring Woods High graduate, was one of the most dominant pitchers in the game, intimidating batters with his powerful pitches, and earning him the nickname “Rocket” and a record seven Cy Young Awards in his 24 seasons. He is third on the all-time strikeout list (4,672) behind Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. Clemens led the University of Texas to a College World Series title in 1983 and was the Boston Red Sox first-round pick that year. He spent 12 seasons with the Red Sox and, after two seasons in Toronto, was traded to the New York Yankees where he helped them to two World Series titles. He played three seasons in Houston and one more with the Yankees before retiring.
“This is where I grew up,’’ Clemens said. “Houston has always been my home so it’s a real honor and a privilege to receive this award. I’ll have a lot of people to thank the night of this award for sure.’’
Drexler, who graduated from Sterling High, went from unheralded recruit to “Clyde The Glide,’’ a player whose seemingly effortless high-flying glides to the basket as a member of the University of Houston’s Phi Slama Jama teams. After helping UH to two Final Four appearances, Drexler took that glide to the NBA where he spent 12 seasons with Portland. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer was traded to Houston in 1995 where he joined fellow UH alum Hakeem Olajuwon and helped the Rockets to their second straight NBA title.
“This is a tremendous honor, the Houston Sports Hall of Fame, with world renowned athletes and contributors that are part of that, and to be included is a tremendous honor,’’ Drexler said.
Swoopes stepped into the spotlight when she led Texas Tech to an NCAA title in 1993 and was the first player to sign with the WNBA when she signed with Houston. She played just the final third of the inaugural season after giving birth to her son but went on to become one of the early stars of the WNBA, helping the Comets to the first four WNBA titles. A three-time Olympic gold medalist, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer was also a three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player, a three-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time WNBA scoring champion.
“This is special,” Swoopes said. “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.’’
One of the most dominant pitchers in the game. Clemens won a record seven Cy Young Awards during his 24-year career, was an 11-time All Star, a two-time World Series champion and ranks third on the all-time strikeout list with 4,672 behind Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. He intimidated batters with his powerful pitches, earning him the nickname “Rocket”, and is the only pitcher to win over 350 games and strike out more than 4,500 batters. The Spring Woods High graduate led the University of Texas to a College World Series title in 1983 and was the Boston Red Sox’s first-round pick that year. He anchored Boston’s rotation for 12 years before spending two seasons with Toronto. Clemens had worn the No. 21 since his college days, but when he was traded to the New York Yankees in 1999 that number was taken and he eventually chose No. 22, which he wore the remainder of his career. Following two World Series titles with the Yankees, Clemens retired at the end of the 2003 season, but a few months later, he rejoined Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte when he signed with the Houston Astros. In that 2004 season, he went 18-4 and, at 42, won his seventh Cy Young, making him the oldest to ever win that honor. He is also only one of six pitchers to win that award in both the American and National Leagues. The following year, in 2005, he helped the Astros to their first World Series appearance in 2005 but they were swept by the Chicago White Sox. He played one final season with the Yankees in 2007 before retiring.
Named one of the top 50 Greatest Players in NBA history, Drexler got his start at the University of Houston where he went from an unheralded recruit from Sterling High School to “Clyde The Glide”, a player known for his high flying, effortless glides to the basket as a member of UH’s Phi Slama Jama teams. Drexler helped lead the Cougars to two Final Four appearances but left UH after his junior season as the only player in school history with combined totals of at least 1,000 career points, 900 rebounds and 300 assists. Portland made him the 14th pick of the 1983 draft where he went on to play for 12 seasons and led the Trailblazers to the NBA Finals in 1990 where they lost to Detroit. In February 1995, he was traded to the Houston Rockets where he teamed back up with fellow Phi Slama Jama teammate Hakeem Olajuwon and together they led the Rockets to their second-straight NBA title. Drexler played two more seasons for the Rockets, retiring after being named to 10 All-Star teams in 15 seasons, the 1992 Olympic Dream Team and making the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Star team. His No. 22 jersey has been retired by UH, Portland and the Rockets. Drexler was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame twice – in 2004 for his playing career and in 2010 as a Dream Team member.
One of the early faces of the WNBA, Swoopes burst onto the scene in 1993 when she led the Texas Tech Red Raiders to the NCAA title. That year she was named the Naismith College Player of the year and Honda Sports Awards winner. After graduation, she played for Team USA and was on the first of three straight Olympic gold medal teams in 1996. The following year, Swoopes became the first player to sign with the WNBA when she signed with the Houston Comets. She played only one third of that inaugural season, coming back six weeks after giving birth to her son. Swoopes still helped lead the Comets to the first of four consecutive WNBA titles and went on to become, among other things, a three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player, a three-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, a two-time WNBA scoring champion and a six-time WNBA All-Star. After 11 years with the Comets, she signed with the Seattle Storm and later played for the Tulsa Shock. She is a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and was named one of the top 15 Players in the first 15 years of the WNBA. She was the first women’s player to have a Nike shoe named after her – the Air Swoopes.
About the Houston Sports Awards
The fifth annual Houston Sports Awards will be held on Thursday, February 3, 2022, at the Wortham Center. This star-studded awards show gathers together Houston’s top athletes, both past and present, to commemorate, celebrate and recognize Houston’s top sports achievements, sports icons, performers and moments. For more information, please visit www.HoustonSportsAwards.com.