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Taylor and Cato are Kings of the Throwback

Did the Rockets coax Patrick Ewing out of retirement? No, that's just Maurice Taylor donning one of his 110 retro jerseys.
Trevor Mitchell/Rockets Photo
by: Trevor Mitchell, rockets.com

The Houston Rockets will pay tribute to their 1994 and 1995 championship teams on Sunday April 6 by wearing the retro red, white and gold road uniforms that the team wore during its title years.

Retro jerseys in most sports have become very popular lately, and the new trend is definitely growing bigger each day. Many NBA players have taken an interest in collecting numerous vintage jerseys and are often seen wearing them anytime they are not competing on the floor. The NBA has done a great job trying to capitalize on the success of the vintage uniforms by supporting the Hardwood Classics concept in various arenas this season.

The idea of taking the floor in the classic throwback jerseys excites nobody more than Rockets big men Maurice Taylor and Kelvin Cato.

Taylor has proven himself to be a throwback king for the Rockets by sporting various old school jerseys to both practice and games. The 6-9 forward views the unique jerseys as a true collector’s item and has over 110 jerseys in his stockpiled collection.

“I was actually wearing them a long time before they became a trend,” said Taylor. “They’re kind of like basketball cards to me. I just love to collect them. You can wear a different one every day with different guys, different teams. It’s just a style for this generation."

To achieve this unique style Taylor does not pinch any pennies. He's not sure exactly how much the retro gear has set him back, but he just shakes his head at the thought whenever asked.

“I don’t even know," he said. “All I know is that it’s a ridiculous amount. Having over 110 at $300 apiece shows the amount that I’ve spent."

While Big Mo says that his Julius “Dr. J” Erving New Jersey Nets jersey is by far his favorite, he has a few other jerseys that he ranks at the top of his chart.

“My Denver Nuggets Alex English jersey is real hot,” said Taylor. "I have a Bob McAdoo Buffalo Braves that’s popular, and of course the throwback 'Dream' (Hakeem Olajuwon)."

Steve Francis dons a Rockets retro jersey similar to the one the team will wear Apr. 6 against Orlando.
Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images
Many players, including Taylor claim that wearing the uniforms of yesteryear is a way of paying respect for the guys that paved the way in all of the sports, especially basketball.

“Many of the jerseys that I have are players that I grew up watching like Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan,” Taylor said. "The best thing is you can have the same guy with jerseys from like three different teams. Like I have a Joe Namath football jersey for both the Jets and the Rams.”

Since Taylor is such a fan of throwback jerseys, he is more than ready to display the Rockets retro uniforms against the Orlando Magic.

“I can’t wait,” he said. "I wish we had more than one day to wear them. I like the idea that the NBA is letting teams wear throwbacks. It’s a thing for the new generation and it’s going to bring that much more excitement to the game because fans want to see the old uniforms too. Many people like the throwbacks better than they like the current jerseys. Even some of the stadiums around the league are going to that old school style. Right now anything old is in, so that style is definitely coming back."

Cato is also down with the retro trend, but he has a different twist on his collection.

“Mo has some nice ones, but I don’t own any basketball jerseys,” claimed Cato. The 6-11 center prefers collecting football and baseball jerseys instead of the hardwood classics. He claims his favorite item is his Barry Bonds Pittsburgh Pirates rookie jersey. Cato is another Rockets player that is excited to be wearing the Rockets throwbacks for one game this season.

“That’s going to be one of the highlights of the year for me,” said Cato. “That along with making the playoffs. Maybe we can wear them in the playoffs. That would be even better." While a few other Houston players have a few retro jerseys of their own, Taylor and Cato are the truest patrons of the jersey trend on the Rockets squad. Although the tandem may get some competition next season from LeBron James, for now they seem to be kings of the throwback and wouldn’t want to change that perception one bit.

“It’s just a cool little trend that’s definitely my style,” said Taylor. "It’s comfortable."