In the 1994 and '95 postseasons, the Houston Rockets took decidedly different paths to the championship. The memories from those title runs are forever the Rockets, but the actual hardware they won -- the Larry O'Brien Trophy -- are in the possession of the man who owned the team back then.
Leslie Alexander sold the Rockets for $2.2 billion to Houston businessman Tilman Fertitta early last fall, ending Alexander's 24-year stint as owner of the team. Houston claimed the 1993-94 NBA title after an epic season in which it won a franchise-record 58 games and topped the New York Knicks in Game 7 of The Finals. In 1994-95, the Rockets became the first team to defeat four 50-win teams (Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs and Orlando Magic) en route to sweeping the Magic in The Finals.
Both of those championship runs came after Alexander bought the team in July of 1993.
In an interview with David Barron of the Houston Chronicle, Alexander says he has the Rockets' two championship trophies at his house in Florida. His retaining of the trophies is permitted by the NBA:
"They're here in a corner at my house," he said during a brief phone conversation. "I haven't decided how to set them up yet."
Alexander had the right to take the trophies with him because the NBA presents its championship trophy to the owner of the team, and it is the owner's prerogative to handle the trophy and display it as he chooses.
He said the answer as to why he wanted to keep the trophies was an obvious one.
"You want to win championships," Alexander said. "That's what you're there for."
According to the Houston Chronicle, a Rockets spokesman says the team is in the process of ordering replica NBA trophies. Those trophies, once procured, will be displayed where the former trophies were -- in the team's offices at Toyota Center and also at special events for Rockets season-ticket holders.
Per the newspaper, Feritta did not comment on Alexander's decision to take the title trophies but said he would be interested in a public display of the replicas.
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