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Team Spotlight: Houston Rockets

Posted on May 03 2020

Based in Houston, the American professional basketball team known as the Houston Rockets have won four conference titles and two NBA (National Basketball Association) championships (1995 and 1994). But they haven't always been known as the Houston Rockets! After four losing seasons, in 1971, they moved to Houston. Previously, the team was founded in 1967 with the name San Diego Rockets.

Houston rockets

Calvin Murphy and Elvin Hayes – both future Hall of Famers – led The Rockets in the early years. Later to become a 12-season coach, Rudy Tomjanovich was also a significant player. Into the 1976 – 1977 season, center Moses Malone was acquired. The Rockets advanced to the finals with his assistance signifying the franchise’s first winning season. During the 1980 to 1981 season, however, that feat was surpassed. Though their record of 42 losses and 40 wins was relatively unimpressive, en route to a birth in the NBA finals, they amassed three consecutive playoff series upsets. Unfortunately, the Boston Celtics derailed their hopes at a championship. The Rockets fell off considerably after, in 1982, Malone left the team.

On the Road to Recovery?

The face of the franchise was soon to change. Future Hall of Fame center, Hakeem Olajuwon, was drafted by the Rockets in 1984. Along with another 7 foot plus player, Ralph Sampson, in 1986, the two propelled the Rockets to yet another NBA finals appearance. Sadly, once again, the Celtics extinguished the Rockets’ flame. Midway through the 1991 to 1992 season, head coaching duties were taken over by Tomjanovich. This proved, in the entire franchise history of the team, to be the beginning of the most successful period. In the 1993 to ‘94 season and the 1994 to ‘95 season, back to back NBA titles were won by Houston. Key contributions were made, of course, from Olajuwon, but also from players like Clyde Drexler, forward Robert Horry, and guard Sam Cassell.

More Stellar Players Added

In 1996, Charles Barkley was added to the team. Unfortunately, the team was not able to proceed beyond the Western Conference Finals, even with Barcley, Drexler, and Olajuwon on the team – three of the best all time players in the NBA. By 2001, each of these players had left the team. The 21st century Rockets would soon be led by China's Yao Ming (at 7'6") and soon-to-be superstar Tracy McGrady. By 2010, however, McGrady was traded away and, in 2011, Yao retired.

A rebuilding process was in the cards for the Rockets. In all of the NBA, they would have the youngest roster during the 2012 to 2013 season (in which they won a playoff berth).

The 2014 to 2015 Season

Here, with a record of 56-26, at least since the Olajuwon era, the team posted its best record. This could be, in part, due to the signing of Dwight Howard, their star center. Unfortunately, the Rockets continued being plagued by one problem or another, keeping them from a championship.

In the 2016 to 2017 season, an NBA three-point shot record was set by the Rockets. Could things be looking up? A second-round playoff loss occurred despite the 55-win campaign of the 2016 to 2017 season.

New Heights Achieved

In the 2017 to 2018 season, new heights were achieved by the Rockets thanks, in part, to Chris Paul at point guard. But when Paul became injured during the conference finals, they were defeated by the Warriors. As a hot NBA team again, however, they were in the playoffs for the 2018 to 2019 season. Sadly, the Warriors again ruined Houston's chances for more postseason play.

Hat Heaven Has NBA Caps

Though our family-operated and owned store is located in the South Bronx, and has been for several decades, thanks to our web store we can supply hat lovers all over the world with caps representing their favorite teams, cartoon characters, and more. With numerous styles to choose from, we are bound to have your favorite team emblazoned on a baseball cap. Check us out!

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