Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets

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Houston Rockets Team History

The Houston Rockets story begins in 1967 as an expansion team based in San Diego, known as the San Diego Rockets. The Rockets won only 15 games in their first season and would eventually move to Houston in 1971, becoming the first NBA franchise in Texas. The move also gave the Rockets team name more significance with the space industry’s extensive footprint in the Houston area. The Rockets would struggle for most of their first decade before the arrival of Hall of Fame center Moses Malone who led the team deep into the playoffs. The arrival of Hakeem Olajuwon led to more than a decade of success in the 1980s and 1990s, and the James Harden Rockets have also been very successful, though as of 2019, they are still looking for their first championship since 1995.

Houston Rockets Championships

The Houston Rockets made two Finals appearances in the 1980s, with Moses Malone leading the team to its first Finals in 1981 despite the team having a losing record in the regular season, with the team losing to the Boston Celtics. The Rockets with Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson made it back to the NBA Finals again in 1986 but would lose to the Boston Celtics once again. The Rockets would finally win their first NBA championship in 1994 with a seven-game series win over the New York Knicks. The Rockets would repeat as champions the following year, sweeping the Orlando Magic to win their second title. Since their last championship win, the Rockets have had much success during the regular season, winning three more division titles, but have not made it back to the NBA Finals.

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Houston Rockets Famous Players and Hall of Famers

Hall of Fame Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the greatest Houston Rockets players in franchise history. Nicknamed “The Dream,” Olajuwon played the bulk of his career in Houston, leading the Rockets to both of their championships and retiring as the leading NBA leader in blocks. 

Olajuwon is also one of only four NBA players to record a quadruple-double. Olajuwon is a two-time NBA Finals MVP, a 12-time NBA All-Star, a six-time All-NBA First Team selection, a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and the 1994 MVP. Olajuwon is also the franchise leader in points scored (26,511), rebounds (13,382), steals (2,088), blocks (3,740) and minutes played (42,844).

Since coming to the Houston Rockets from the Oklahoma City Thunder, James Harden has lit up the scoreboard and already ranks third in the Houston Rockets all-time scoring list (as of 2019). Harden has been named an All-Star seven times and has earned five All-NBA First Team honors and was honored as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2018. Harden has also won the title of the NBA’s scoring leader in 2018 and 2019 and the assists leader in 2017. The only thing missing from his trophy cabinet now is an NBA championship, something that has eluded his grasp during his time in Houston – for now.

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