HOUSTON ROCKETS FRANCHISE HISTORY
Previous Franchise Names: San Diego Rockets
Principal Owner: Leslie Alexander
CEO: Ted Brown
General Manager: Daryl Morey
Head Coach: J.B. Bickerstaff
Best Season: 1993-94 (58-24, .707)
Playoff Appearances: 29
NBA Championships: 2 (1993-95)
The Houston Rockets trace their roots back to the NBA’s 1967 expansion, as the San Diego Rockets joined the league along with the Seattle SuperSonics.
The Rockets’ stint in San Diego was short—just four seasons—before the franchise was shifted to Houston for the 1971-72 season.
It was 10 years before the club posted its first winning record and Houston’s first foray into the NBA Finals came upon a wave of upsets in 1981 after finishing just 40-42—the last NBA team to reach the Finals after posting a losing record during the regular year.
The Rockets returned to the Finals in 1986, but the result was the same as it had been five years earlier—a six-game loss to the Boston Celtics.
Hakeem Olajuwon led the Rockets to their only two titles in back-to-back seasons, ruling the NBA in 1993-94 and 1994-95, and the club hasn’t been back to the Finals since.
The Rockets have 29 playoff appearances in 49 NBA seasons and have produced a pair of NBA MVPs in Moses Malone and Olajuwon.
The franchise’s first star was University of Houston big man Elvin Hayes, drafted first overall in 1968 and leading the expansion Rockets to a 22-win improvement and the team’s first playoff berth.
In the 1980s, back-to-back first overall picks yielded Ralph Sampson (1983) and Olajuwon (1984), helping the club back to respectability after they bottomed out following Malone’s exit as a free agent in 1982.
The current Rockets are built around All-Star James Harden, acquired in a 2012 trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Tomjanovich went on to become the franchise’s most successful coach, posting a 503-397 record and going 51-39 in the playoffs during his run that covered the final 30 games of the 1991-92 season through the end of the 2002-03 campaign.
Houston Rockets Career Leaders (as of 3/9/2016)
- Games, Hakeem Olajuwon, 1177
- Points, Hakeem Olajuwon, 26511
- Rebounds, Hakeem Olajuwon, 13382
- Assists, Calvin Murphy, 4402
- Steals, Hakeem Olajuwon, 2088
- Blocks, Hakeem Olajuwon, 3740
Houston Rockets Retired Numbers
- 22, Clyde Drexler
- 23, Calvin Murphy
- 24, Moses Malone
- 34, Hakeem Olajuwon
- 45, Rudy Tomjanovich
- CD, Carroll Dawson
Houston Rockets Official Links
Houston Rockets Beat Writers
Jonathan Feigen, Houston Chronicle, @jonathan_feigen
Jenny Dial-Creech, Houston Chronicle, @jennydialcreech
Kristie Rieken, Associated Press, @kristieap
Calvin Watkins, ESPN.com, @calvinwatkins
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com, @franblinebury
Related Houston Rockets Blogs and Links
Houston Rockets Logo History, courtesy of Chris Creamer’s Sportslogos.net
Salary Page: Houston Rockets Salaries at Spotrac
FanSided Houston Rockets: Space City Scoop
SB Nation Houston Rockets: The Dream Shake
ESPN TrueHoop Houston Rockets: Red94
HoopsHabit Houston Rockets Archive: Houston Rockets
Bleacher Report Houston Rockets Team Stream: Houston Rockets
RealGM Houston Rockets Page: Houston Rockets
Stats and retired number information courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com