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With jerseys in red and white, the Rockets are one of seven US professional Basketball teams in the Midwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association. Houston Rockets reached the NBA Finals in 1981 and 1986 but lost to the Boston Celtics both times. The franchise won its first NBA title in 1994 led by center Hakeem Olajuwon becoming the first professional team from Houston to win a major sports championship.
The Rockets have been in four NBA Finals, and have twenty two Playoff Appearances. They have won four Conference titles, four Division titles and two NBA championships. In 2003 the Rockets acquired a new look and new logos. The logo changed from the Rocket orbiting a basketball to a launching 'R' with the script "Houston Rockets". The Rockets alternate logo is that of a red R taking off like a Rocket with twin boosters.
Houston Rockets Home Arena
Hofheinz Pavilion served as the first home to the NBA's Houston Rockets when the team relocated from San Diego in 1971. The Summit was the next home of the Rockets. From 1975 until 1998, it was a multi-purpose sports arena known as The Summit, and from 1998 until 2003 it was known as the Compaq Center. Besides Houston Rockets, the venue also housed the Houston Comets, Houston Aeros, and several arena football sports teams until they vacated the arena in favor of the new Toyota Center in downtown Houston. A multi-use facility, the Toyota Center presents numerous concert, family and sports events to Houston each year. This venue is also home to the Houston Comets of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League (AHL).
It was also announced in September 2007 that the Rockets will debut a new court design for the 2007-08 season. The court design includes a lighter varnished wood inside the three point area, similar to the Seattle Supersonics, while the rest are dark varnished wood. The color red will remain on the Rockets logo, and the script. This court design is similar to the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Hornets, in which most of the hardwood is exposedUpon the opening of the Toyota Center, the Rockets decided to re-brand themselves with a new uniform. The Rockets changed from the authentic blue shooting star striped uniform to a modern red and white.
Originally introduced to the NBA as the San Diego Rockets in 1967, (the same year that the American Basketball Association launched itself as a rival league) the Rockets moved to Houston after only four seasons. After stumbling through its first five years in Houston, the franchise gained some respectability after acquiring Moses Malone early in the 1976-77 campaign. Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon bore the big-man banner in the 1980s and into the 1990s, posting impressive seasons.
The 1988-89 Rockets, with a starting lineup of Olajuwon, Thorpe, Floyd, Mike Woodson, and Buck Johnson, compiled a 45-37 record, second best in the Midwest Division. However, the Rockets struggled to break even throughout the rest of season and needed a victory in their last game to finish at 41-41 and in fifth place in the Midwest Division. Houston then made a quick exit from the playoffs, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in a best-of-five first-round series. The club's top scorers were Olajuwon, Thorpe, Wiggins, and Johnson.
Five years later in 1993-94, the Rockets returned to the NBA Finals and defeated the New York Knicks in a seven game series. Hakeem Olajuwon was widely considered the best player in the league, winning the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. His averages per game included 27.3 points (third in the league), 11.9 rebounds (fourth), and 3.71 blocked shots (second).
The second victory came in 1995, with the addition of veteran guard Clyde Drexler, who had played alongside Olajuwon at the University of Houston. The Rockets' playoff run was among the most memorable in NBA annals. The team entered the postseason seeded only sixth in the Western Conference but went on to become the lowest seed ever to win a title, as well as the first team in NBA playoff history to eliminate four teams that had each won 50 or more regular-season games.Rocket?s Lowest Time
2001-2002 season was of little success, as their team was mostly made up of young Rookies and bench players who barely receive playtime, which made Francis and Mobley's job of making the team a winning one more difficult. The first "Hakeem-less" season in almost 20 years was tied up at a disappointing record at 28-54. Nationally and locally the losing season of 2001-2002 caused a total loss of faith in the Rockets. Then, Yao Ming a tall 7 foot and 6 inches Chinese center, playing for the Shanghai Sharks, decided to participate in the 2002 NBA draft and was selected by the Rockets. At first the American fans were caught off a little bit as they were expecting Jay Williams to be in the spotlight. However, more and more NBA officials recognized the fact that the influx of international players has made the NBA games more exciting and competitive in the world which was proven in the 2002 season as 52 foreigners played in that season, attracting fans from 210 countries and regions globally.
In the 2006-07 NBA season, the Rockets suffered familiar injuries to both superstars: an injured back for McGrady and a fractured right tibia bone for Yao. Fortunately for the Rockets though, McGrady returned just after Yao was injured and had six consecutive games of at least 30 points. Yao missed 32 games but returned to action March 6 with the Rockets in solid playoff position. On March 26, the Rockets officially qualified for the first round of the NBA playoffs with a win against the Milwaukee Bucks. On April 16th, The Rockets defeated the Phoenix Suns 120-117 and clinched homecourt advantage for their first-round series with the Utah Jazz. The tandem of Yao and McGrady one-upped its previous regular season best, finishing 52-30 on the year. However, once again, the Houston Rockets were unable to pull out of the first round, losing in Game 7 to Utah 103-99. Head Coach Jeff Van Gundy was fired on May 18th, 2007.
Hall of Famers
Some of basketball Hall of Fame members to play for the Rockets includes Charles Barkley, Rick Barry, Clyde Drexler, Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone and Calvin Murphy.
In the News
Houston Rockets' swingman Justin Reed was arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana in Jackson. Reed was charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, which carries a fine from $100 to $250. He was released later. Houston Rockets guard Rafer Alston was charged with slashing a man's neck during a ruckus at a Manhattan nightspot -- his second brush with the law within a month. Alston was arraigned on felony assault charges before being released without bail.
The 2007-2008 Team Roster
Houston begins the 2007-08 season with recently hired Rick Adelman as the team's 11th head coach. The Rockets waived Jackie Butler, John Lucas III and Justin Reed, trimming their roster down to 15 players before season opener in Los Angeles. The teams current roster consists of Rafer Alston, Shane Battier, Aaron Brooks, Steve Francis, Chuck Hayes, Luther Head, Mike James, Carl Landry, Tracy McGrady C, Dikembe Mutombo, Steve Novak, Luis Scola, Kirk Snyder, Bonzi Wells, and Yao Ming.
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