Houston Rockets – 44 Years of Tradition

Yao Ming and Ron Artest - Houston Rockets 44 Years of TraditionIf you haven’t been to a Houston Rockets game this season, you really need to go. The bar on the production value has been raised each season and the pregame videos alone are worth the price of admission.

The Rockets have been doing a “Years of Tradition” video celebrating the franchise’s great moments and players since the 2006-07 season (the team’s 40th anniversary). It was an outstanding piece accompanied by Hans Zimmer music (See: 41 Years of Rockets Tradition video), and each year it’s been the same video with some tweaks to accomodate each season’s new roster.

This year the Rockets put together a brand new one, and I think they topped their previous work. They created a 5-minute clip, putting past and present Rockets highlights to Aerosmith’s “Dream On”, and did a fantastic job making it look like every Rocket, from Elvin Hayes to Chuck Hayes, is on the same team.

Here’s my amateur filming of it:

A few thoughts:

  • With all the injury issues with Yao Ming and talk of it “being over,” it’s too painful to watch clips from his rookie year, including this exchange against Shaquille O’Neal (0:23). So much promise. And yes… I’m still clinging to the dwindling hope of a strong comeback.

  • I was sitting three seats away from Calvin Murphy when his photo popped up (0:51).

  • They got the big Bostjan Nachbar exchanges with Karl Malone from the 2004 playoffs — Malone undercutting Boki (1:36) and Nachbar’s postal worker-disgruntling block (4:09) on Malone.

  • Ralph Sampson hook shot against the mighty Boston Celtics from the 1986 NBA Finals (2:06). If you’re too young to have seen Sampson play, I recommend going back and watching a 7-foot-4 wonder go to work. And you thought injuries cut Yao’s career short.

  • I love that they used Rodney McCray‘s fast break dunk from the first round of the 1986 playoffs against the Kings (2:11). Big fan of Rodney’s back in the day.

  • That slow-motion shot of Clyde Drexler running back after his dunk past Dennis Scott in Game 3 of the 1995 NBA Finals (2:24), with a pumped-up Mario Elie in the background, gets me every time.

  • Two thumbs up for their use of Ron Artest in the video. Perfect usage when he flexes (2:30), his crazy dance back up the court after a shot (3:00) and getting in Kobe Bryant’s face (3:12). He had offensive flaws that were hard to overcome, but I just miss the guy in a Rockets uniform.

  • If you don’t pay attention you miss it, but there’s a friendly hug/exchange between Rudy Tomjanovich and Rick Adelman (2:31).

  • Michael Cooper beware… Lewis Lloyd is coming for you (2:33)

  • Not one but two shots of the hand signal used for the Rockets three-pointers in 2004-05, shown by Bobby Sura and Jon Barry (2:33). That was the only year the team used it. If I was to rank “funnest” seasons since ClutchFans started, I’d rank the 04-05 team as #2 behind only the opening season of 1996-97.

  • Homage paid to the 13 points in 33 seconds from Tracy McGrady (2:37). When this came on, I looked down at the Pistons, who were warming up in the layup lines. McGrady stopped for a few seconds and looked up to watch it. So did some of his teammates. And his dunk over Shawn Bradley (3:45) is something I could watch all day.

  • Steve Novak‘s lone contribution to the Houston Rockets: His game-winning three against the Sacramento Kings (2:54) that kept the winning streak alive. “It’s on Novak!”

  • Moochie Norris. This video wouldn’t have been complete without the ‘fro (3:11).

  • Only fitting that Hakeem Olajuwon gets an extended tribute (3:17), precisely timed when the “Dream On” chorus kicks in. Not really much to add to that.

  • With each passing year, we will learn to appreciate the 22-game winning streak (3:47) more and more. The NBA is just so competitive these days that it’s not likely to be something we will ever see again. It was probably McGrady’s finest hour as a Rocket as he carried the Rockets without Yao for the second half of the run and was even getting some MVP play from the Houston Chronicle — but it was also the beginning of the end. His decline happened rapidly, starting at the tail end of that streak.

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