Rockets All-Decade Team of the 1970s
Celebrating 45 years of Houston Rockets Tradition
It was the decade of disco, big hair and even bigger change.
Ours was a society in transition during the 1970s as viewpoints shifted and perspectives evolved. A significant transformation was taking place in America at large; one that would require several more decades to fully grasp and comprehend.
The sports world, too, felt the impact of this movement. Athletes became empowered. Dynasties rose and fell. Our love of the games didn't waver, but the way we viewed them most definitely did.
Here in Houston, that change took the form of something altogether different. A new team arrived, forever altering the landscape of sports in this city.
The Rockets. With a name like that, surely they were always destined to call Houston home. And in 1971 that day arrived as the team bolted San Diego for a new address in Space City.
Now here we are, 45 years from the franchise's inception, blessed with the benefit of time to soak in everything that has taken place in the wake of all that change. So many memories, so many moments forever etched into the grey matter of our minds all made possible by the great players who have worn the Rockets jersey with pride over the years.
It's tough, borderline impossible in fact, to repay the ones responsible for weaving that sort of magic; the kind that conjures the connection that exists between a franchise and its fans. Without their athletic achievements, there is no occasion for joy inside the arena, no reason for fandom at all. The least, then, we can do is pay homage to those memories, respect the impact they've had, and pledge to never forget.
That's where you come in. To celebrate the Rockets' 45th anniversary season, the franchise wants you, the fan, to help us name our teams of the decades, each of which will be honored at various home games throughout the season. The process is simple enough: just vote for the five players you feel are most deserving in the poll provided.
We're starting, of course, at the very beginning, in search of the Rockets' team of the '70s. Below, you'll find the basics on the top candidates. Voting has now closed and will be revealed Thursday afternoon, January 12 right here on rockets.com
Be sure to make your way to Toyota Center January 13th for the Rockets game against Sacramento, when the franchise and its fans will pay tribute to the team you select.
As a special bonus, you can purchase a 45th anniversary pack for January 13th - 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
|John Block||Elvin Hayes||Don Kojis|
Career: 11.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, .778 ft%
Originally chosen by the L.A. Lakers with the 27th overall pick in the 1966 Draft, Block spent four total seasons with the Rockets. He actually led the inaugural Rockets team in scoring with 20.2 points per game in 1967-68. In his career with the Rockets, Block averaged 14.5 points and 8.2 rebounds in 285 games with the organization. Block and Don Kojis were each selected by the Rockets in the 1967 Expansion Draft and both were members of the Rockets first-ever playoff team.
Career: 21 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 2 bpg, 1 spg
The player who launched the Rockets' legacy of standout big men, Elvin Hayes took the NBA by storm the second he set foot on the floor as a professional.
Delivering on the promise and potential that helped make him the first overall pick in the 1968 draft, Hayes produced a debut season for the ages and he remains the last rookie to lead the league in scoring average. Hayes earned the first of his 12 All-Star selections that season, flashing the form that would one day lead him all the way to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Career: 12.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, .720 ft%
Kojis was selected to a pair of NBA All-Star Games as a member of the Rockets. Selected in the second round (21st overall) of the NBA Draft by Chicago, this standout from Marquette spent three seasons with the Rockets. An original member of the San Diego Rockets, Kojis averaged 19.6 points in 206 games with the franchise. Overall, he still ranks sixth in Rockets history in scoring averaged and ninth in rebounds per game (9.1).
|Kevin Kunnert||John Lucas||Moses Malone|
Career: 8.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.1 bpg
After a short stint to start his career with the Buffalo Braves, Kunnert was traded to Houston where he enjoyed the most productive years of his career, A rock-solid big man who patrolled the paint for the Rockets between 1973-1978,, Kunnert's productivity peaked with his strong '75-76 campaign before he followed that up with another solid season to help lead the Rockets to the Central Division title a year later.
Career: 10.7 ppg, 7 apg, 1.4 spg
The first overall pick of the 1976 draft, John Lucas was a sweet-passing pure point guard blessed with an abundance of skill. Lucas only played two seasons in Houston during his first stint with the Rockets (he would later return to the team for another two-year run in the mid-'80s before finishing his career in Houston in 1990), but he made quite an impact during that time, earning All-Rookie first team honors in his debut season while simultaneously playing a key role in the Rockets' run to the Eastern Conference Finals that year.
Career: 20.6 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 1.3 bpg, .491 fg%
One of the best big men to ever play the game, period. During his remarkable Hall of Fame career, Moses Malone made the All-Star game 13 times and earned league MVP honors three different seasons.
The first of those awards came his way for his incredible '78-'79 campaign when Malone led the Rockets with 24.8 points and 17.6 rebounds per game, while shooting a career-best 54 percent from the field.
|Calvin Murphy||Mike Newlin||Rudy Tomjanovich|
Career: 17.9 ppg, 4.4 apg, 1.5 spg, .892 ft%
Calvin Murphy may be the shortest player ever elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame but there was certainly nothing pint-sized about the man's game. Murphy made life miserable for opponents with his speed, skill, quickness and, of course, deadeye shooting from the free throw line. The franchise's all-time leading scorer until that record was broken in 1994 by Hakeem Olajuwon.
Career: 14.9 ppg, 4 apg, 3 rpg, 1 spg, .870 ft%
Calvin Murphy's longtime backcourt mate, Mike Newlin broke into the Rockets' starting lineup during his sophomore season in 1972 and became a key figure in the franchise's fortunes for the rest of the decade. Possessing a feisty on-court persona and strong passing skills for his position, Newlin helped Houston reach the 1977 Eastern Conference Finals.
Career: 17.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.0 apg, .784 ft%
Rudy Tomjanovich has an indelible place in Rockets' lore as the head coach of the back-to-back title-winning "Heart of a champion" Houston clubs in the mid-90s, but long before those days he had made his mark as one heck of a player as well.
The fifth overall pick of the Rockets when the team was still based out of San Diego, Tomjanovich earned five All-Star selections as a dynamic, do-everything forward, fully blossoming during the '73-'74 season when he supplemented his sterling scoring and rebounding numbers with more than one steal and nearly one block per game.