Growing up in the ’80s, I was a diehard Astros and Oilers fan, with basketball taking a distant third. It was the early-to-mid ’80s Rocket teams that I eventually fell in love with, and their coach was Bill Fitch.
So, it was truly an honor for me to have him on the ClutchFans Podcast today.
Fitch is an NBA coaching legend. The 9th winningest coach in NBA History with 944 wins, Fitch coached the Boston Celtics to an NBA Title in 1981 (against the Rockets), then coached the Rockets from 1983 to 1988, leading them to the Finals in 1986 (against the Celtics). Having coached Hakeem Olajuwon, Ralph Sampson, Kevin McHale and Larry Bird as rookies, Fitch offered some incredible insight into their early careers.
Fitch also shot down the rumor, written in Hakeem’s book, about the Rockets being offered a trade from Portland that would have sent Clyde Drexler and the #2 pick of the 1984 Draft (which would have been used to take Michael Jordan) to Houston for Sampson.
“The only time I ever heard that one was when I just talked to you,” said Fitch. “They were all rumors. No one ever put anything across my desk and, as far as I know, no one put a serious offer across Ray Patterson’s desk that he would have passed on to me.”
CSN Houston will debut tonight at 7:00pm “A Conversation with Bill Fitch”, part one of a two-part series that will replay multiple times this month. In the first installment, Rockets play-by-play announcer Bill Worrell sits down with Fitch to focus on his run with the Boston Celtics, the team’s championship in 1981 and his special relationship with Bird.