Rockets Extend Partnership with Vipers

Vipers Will Host Rockets Training Camp and Exhibition Games Through 2012

August 7, 2009

MCALLEN, TEXAS - The NBA D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers and the NBA Houston Rockets announced today in a press conference that they are extending their partnership and as a result, the Rockets will hold a portion of their pre-season training camps and host an exhibition game in the Rio Grande Valley in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The extended partnership also encompasses areas of marketing and business development. The Rockets and Vipers anticipate that under the partnership, the Vipers will gain greater understanding of the business operations of an NBA franchise. These opportunities include developing and integrating marketing campaigns, learning from different NBA-level executives and professionals, and sharing ideas designed to benefit both organizations.

“This partnership agreement exemplifies the Rockets’ long-term commitment to the Rio Grande Valley. We’re looking forward to extending this partnership for the next three years and continued success between our two franchises,” Vipers President/GM Brian Michael Cooper said.

“We are extremely excited to commit to a long-term affiliation with the Vipers and to bring NBA basketball to all the great fans in the Valley. The Vipers ownership group and front office team have been a pleasure to work with and we look forward to all the great things we will accomplish together in the future,” Rockets Chief Strategy Officer Chris Dacey said.

The Rockets and Vipers are committed to bringing top quality opponents to the Rio Grande Valley every year. The Rockets are lining up top teams such as the Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs for the pre-season game 2010. The opponent has not yet been finalized and is subject to teams’ travel schedules.

The 2010 game will follow three days of practices in the Rio Grande Valley. This year, the Rockets will practice at the McAllen Convention Center on October 4 and 5, and host an exhibition game against the 2008 NBA Champion Boston Celtics on the Vipers’ court at Dodge Arena on October 7. In addition, the Vipers will host the inaugural RGV Rocket Launch 2009 at the McAllen Convention Center from October 3-5.

There are two former Vipers currently on the Rockets’ roster – starting point guard Aaron Brooks and forward Joey Dorsey. Brooks played in two games for the Vipers during the 2007-08 season while Dorsey was with the Vipers for seven games this past season. Both were NBA-assignees. Brooks returned to the Rio Grande Valley on June 4 to sign autographs for fans for free. Los Angeles Clippers forward Steve Novak was also an NBA-assignee by the Rockets during the 2007-08 season, playing in nine games with the Vipers.

This is the latest in a series of moves that have strengthened the relationship between the Rockets and the Vipers. Most recently, they announced entrance into a single-affiliation agreement, giving the Rockets control over the Vipers’ basketball operations.

The Rio Grande Valley Vipers are a professional basketball team in the NBA Development League (NBA D-League). The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official minor league and featured 16 teams with direct affiliations to NBA teams during the 2008-09 season. This fall, two new NBA D-League teams will begin play in Portland, Maine and Springfield, Mass.-- the birthplace of basketball. Eighty-four former NBA Development League players were on 2008-09 NBA end-of-season rosters, amounting to almost 20 percent of NBA players, and the league continues to develop coaches, referees, and front office staff for the NBA and its teams. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. The NBA D-League also advances the game of basketball as the research and development arm of the NBA. Throughout the season fans can watch all NBA D-League games on NBA Futurecast, the free live Web-streaming initiative found at The Vipers’ NBA affiliate is the Houston Rockets.