Book a luxury suite for the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center
Originating as a west coast NBA franchise, the Rockets’ first home was in San Diego. It was there that they laid the groundwork for building their franchise, through the draft, with the selections of Pat Riley and Elvin Hayes. An early change of ownership brought the team to Houston as the first NBA team in Texas. The Rockets moniker was a perfect fit as it served as a tip of the cap to the NASA space program based out of Houston.
Things really began to take off in the mid-1970s when the Rockets acquired Moses Malone via a trade. Playing alongside Rudy Tomjanovich, the team instantly became a major contender. This period of time culminated with an NBA Finals appearance at the conclusion of the 1980-81 season. Losing to the Celtics in six games, Houston would regress for a few years before returning to the finals in 1985-86. Led, this time, by Hakeem Olajuwon, the same result would follow as the Rockets lost to the Celtics in six games once again.
The Rockets would be an early round exit team for the rest of the 1980s and into the mid-90s. Led by their veteran star in Olajuwon and now with Tomjanovich as head coach, the Rockets played with an amazing tenacity. Fueled by a game seven overtime loss in the second round of the playoffs the year before, Houston tore through the regular season en route to an unforgettable playoffs which saw them burn through Portland, Phoenix, and Utah before matching up against the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals. An epic seven game series would unfold before Houston prevailed to hoist the trophy as NBA champions for the first time.
Adding Clyde Drexler for the next season, Houston was able to repeat as champions. Earning the nickname “Clutch City”, Houston powered through playoff opponents in Utah, Phoenix, and San Antonio before sweeping the Orlando Magic in four straight.
The franchise tried to keep themselves relevant in the following years by bringing in notable players like Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen, but they were unable to reach the same level of success. The team would find themselves ascending back to relevancy with the drafting of Yao Ming. In addition, Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest were brought onboard. Additional moves over the years saw the signings of both Dwight Howard and Jeremy Lin.
However, the tide really began to turn for Houston in 2012 when James Harden was brought in via a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The centerpiece of the current squad, Harden has led the team through a resurgence which has had them in the playoffs for the last seven seasons and counting, with two appearances in the Western Conference Finals to date. Teaming up with Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker, and Clint Capela, this group is hoping to advance all the way to the finals and bring the hardware home to Houston.
Houston has enjoyed the pleasure of being home to some terrific NBA legends over the years. Some of the most beloved include Hakeem Olajuwon, James Harden, Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, Moses Malone, Clyde Drexler, and Elvin Hayes. Additional information about the Houston Rockets franchise both past and present can be found by clicking here.