Clyde Drexler Retires His Dancing Shoes
"I am extremely elated! I feel like I won the lotto! I don't think I've been this happy since I won the championship [in 1995]," the former Houston Rockets star told PEOPLE, laughing. "I was ready to go."
The judges saw it the same way. Last week, judge Len Goodman accused Drexler,44, of "not even giving it your best shot" following his disastrous waltz with partner Elena Grinenko.
Though Drexler squeezed in rehearsal time for this week's performance while abroad in China, his rendition of the passionate rhumba failed to cause sparks on the dance floor. "I know that you're a gentleman, but this was so polite it was like a rhumba under an anesthetic," said Bruce Tonioli.
Carrie Ann Inaba put it more simply: "You're the worst dancer in the competition."
But one of the most beloved. Earning a standing ovation from the audience as he said his good-bye, Drexler was known as "a class act," says Ian Ziering. "He's such a warm-hearted guy," adds Ziering's partner Cheryl Burke. "His smile is great."
No doubt Drexler will be all grins now that he has more time to spend with his two great loves: "I'm going to continue to enjoy my kids and enjoy my golf game!"
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