Your Rockets All-Decade Team of the 1990s
Celebrating 45 years of Houston Rockets Tradition
It's been nearly two decades since the inception of that goose bump-inducing moniker and the mere mention of it still floods the senses with a symphony of sights and sounds that can send spirits soaring and reduce grown men to tears. That is its beauty. Such is its power.
But achieving full appreciation of the Clutch City label requires an understanding of everything that came before: all the heartbreak and pain; the what ifs and what might have beens; the scarlet letter 'C' that had previously been emblazoned upon the chest of Houston's sports scene, proclaiming our teams and athletes all of us, really as nothing more than a bunch of underachieving chokers.
And then Leslie Alexander changed it all.
Clutch City began when Alexander became owner, took charge, and injected new leadership and life into this already proud franchise. Then Hakeem Olajuwon went from being the best big man in the NBA to the league's best player, period. Others like Otis Thorpe, Robert Horry, Vernon Maxwell, Kenny Smith and Sam Cassell found their roles and fit perfectly into place. Alexander and Head Coach Rudy Tomjanovich pressed all the right buttons. And on June 22, 1994, the heart of a champion was born.
Their demons of the past forever exorcized, the Rockets then went about the unique business of concocting a sequel even more spectacular than the original. A hometown hero returned, electrifying a city and sending a fan base to even greater heights. And what followed from that point forward simply the stuff of pure legend: Clutch City conquered the Jazz; a kiss of death smote the Suns; Olajuwon bamboozled the Spurs; while the Magic meekly disappeared in the face of the Rockets' real wizardry.
It was truly a decade of dreams for the Rockets; a kaleidoscope of moments never to be forgotten. And now, as part of the Rockets' 45th anniversary season and in an effort to pay homage to those memories, Rockets.com gave you the opportunity to select your team of the decade a squad that will be honored at halftime of Houston's March 22 game against Golden State.
Below, you'll find the basics on the top candidates.
Be sure to make your way to Toyota Center March 22nd for the Rockets game against Golden State, when the franchise and its fans will pay tribute to the team of the 1990's that you selected.
As a special bonus, you can purchase a 45th anniversary pack for March 22nd - Each ticket includes a 45th anniversary t-shirt and a large beer or soda for $45 on the lower level or $25 for the upper level of Toyota Center. BUY TICKETS
|Charles Barkley||Sam Cassell||Clyde Drexler|
Career: 22.1 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 3.9 apg, .541 fg%
Averages with Rockets: 16.5 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 3.9 apg, .482 fg%
With Rockets: 1996-2000
Best 90's season with Rockets (1996-97): 19.2 ppg, 13.5 rpg, 4.7 apg, .484 fg%
The Round Mound of Rebound was well past his prime by the time he arrived, but that didn't prevent him from making a significant impact upon the club the moment he hit the court. In his first game with the Rockets, Barkley recorded a career-high 33 rebounds, setting the tone for a season in which he would average 13.5 boards per game the second-highest mark of his Hall of Fame career while helping to lead Houston all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
Career: 15.7 ppg, 6 apg, 1.1 spg, .861 ft%
Averages with Rockets: 10.1 ppg, 4.2 apg,
With Rockets: 1993-96
Best 90's season with Rockets (1995-96): 14.5 ppg, 4.6 apg, .348 3-pt%
Possessing a confidence that belied his young years, the precocious Cassell entered the league in 1993 and instantly injected the Rockets with a certain swagger and belief that came to define the Clutch City era. Utterly fearless even beneath the brightest of lights, Cassell came up big time and time again during the Rockets' championship runs, delivering daggers with the sort of smile that revealed both his passion for the game and his affinity for crunch time.
Career: 20.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 5.6 apg, 2.0 spg
Averages with Rockets: 19.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg,
With Rockets: 1995-98
Best 90's season with Rockets (1994-95): 21.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 4.4 apg
The embodiment of the hometown hero who returns to his roots to achieve his greatest glory, Drexler came back to Houston via trade in 1995 and helped spark the Rockets to an amazing playoff run that culminated in the team's second straight title. A 10-time All-Star and one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, "The Glide" was not only a highlight waiting to happen, but also a devastating all-around player capable of making big plays on both ends of the court.
|Mario Elie||Robert Horry||Vernon Maxwell|
Career: 8.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, .9 spg, .365 3-pt%
Averages with Rockets: 9.8 ppg, 3.1 apg,
With Rockets: 1993-98
Best 90's season with Rockets (1996-97): 11.7 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.0 rpg, .420 3-pt%
The ultimate glue guy, Elie knew his role on the team and performed it perfectly. He supplied ample amounts of offense and defense to be sure, but just as valuable was the inexhaustible toughness he brought to the Rockets on a nightly basis. And should you ever need a reminder of just how beloved Elie still is in this town, just say the words "kiss of death" to the Rockets fan beside you the resulting look on their face will surely say it all.
Career: 7.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1 spg, .341 3-pt%
Averages with Rockets: 10.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg,
With Rockets: 1992-96
Best 90's season with Rockets (1995-96):
Career: 12.8 ppg, 3.4 apg, 1.1 spg, .320 3-pt%
Averages with Rockets: 14.9 ppg, 4.3 apg,
With Rockets: 1989-95
Best 90's season with Rockets (1991-92): 17.2 ppg, 4.1 apg, 1.3 spg, .342 3-pt%
|Hakeem Olajuwon||Kenny Smith||Otis Thorpe|
Career: 21.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 3.1 bpg, 1.7 spg
Averages with Rockets: 22.5 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 3.0 bpg
With Rockets: 1984-2001
Best 90's season with Rockets (1993-94): 27.3 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 3.7 bpg, 1.6 spg
Olajuwon went from dominant superstar to all-time great during the decade, cementing his place as one of the best big men in NBA history with a run for the ages during the Rockets' two title-winning seasons. Dream pocketed a Most Valuable Player award and a pair of Finals MVPs in that stretch, doing things at the center position that hadn't been seen before and haven't been seen since.
Career: 12.8 ppg, 5.5 apg, .399 3-pt%
Averages with Rockets: 12.6 ppg, 5.3 apg, .407 3-pt%
With Rockets: 1990-96
Best 90's season with Rockets (1990-91): 17.7 ppg, 7.1 apg, 1.4 spg, .520 fg%
Career: 14.0 ppg, 8.2 rpg, .546 fg%
Averages with Rockets: 15.8 ppg, 9.7 rpg, .559 fg%
With Rockets: 1988-95
Best 90's season with Rockets (1991-92):
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