San Diego Rockets

San Diego Rockets  

Rockets Timeline


San Diego Rockets Team Formation

The Rockets were founded in 1967 in San Diego, and after being bought by Robert Breitbard for 1.75 million dollars, they joined the NBA as an expansion team for the 1967 - 1968 NBA season. The San Diego franchise nickname became the "Rockets" because Atlas rockets were manufactured in San Diedgo and due to the city calling itself "a city of motion." Jack McMahon was named the Rockets' coach, and the team's first draft pick in 1967 was the future Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley. However, the Rockets went on to lose 67 games in their inaugural season, which was then an NBA record for losses in a season.

Moving to Houston

Coached by Hall of Fame coach Alex Hannum, the Rockets tallied a 57–97 record in the following two seasons, and did not make the playoffs in either season. Because of the low performance and attendance, Breitbard looked to sell the team, and in 1971, Texas Sports Investments, which was led by real estate broker Wayne Duddleston and banker Billy Goldberg, bought the franchise for $5.6 million, and moved the team to Houston. The franchise became the first NBA team in Texas, and the team's nickname of "Rockets" kept its relevance after the move.

Owner Leslie Alexander

Leslie Alexander bought the Rockets in July 30, 1993 for $85 million. In his first season as owner, the Rockets won their first ever NBA title. They repeated as champs in 1995. A new arena, the Toyota Center, was opened in 2003.

NBA Finals Winners - 2 NBA Finals Wins

NBA Finals - 1995
The 1995 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1994 - 1995 NBA season. The series pitted the Orlando Magic against the Houston Rockets. The pre-series hype and build-up of the Finals was centered on the meeting of the two centers Shaquille O'Neal of the Magic and Hakeem Olajuwon of the Rockets. Going into the series the matchup was compared to the Bill Russell-Wilt Chamberlain matchup of the 1960s. In addition, the Rockets' sweep of the Magic was unique, in the fact that it was a "reverse sweep," where Houston won Games 1 and 2 on the road and 3 and 4 at home. It was also the second NBA Finals sweep in the 2-3-2 Finals format. The Rockets also became the first repeat NBA Champion in history to keep the title with a sweep. In addition, the Rockets became the first team in NBA history to win the title without having home-court advantage in any of the four playoff rounds since the playoffs was expanded to a 16 team format in 1984.

NBA Finals - 1994
The 1994 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1993 - 1994 National Basketball Association season, featuring the Western Conference's Houston Rockets defeating the Eastern Conference's New York Knicks. This matchup was Hakeem Olajuwon's second NBA Finals series appearance, his other being in 1986, where Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics defeated the Houston Rockets four games to two. The series was Patrick Ewing's first NBA Finals appearance. The Rockets came in with strong determination to win not only the franchise's first NBA championship, but the city's first championship in a league that still existed, all while the Knicks were looking to add a third NBA championship trophy, as the Knicks' last trophy came from the 1973 NBA Finals. The Knicks also hoped to impress their new owners Viacom, who had just bought Paramount Communications (formerly Gulf+Western), their longtime owners (after the series however, Viacom sold the Knicks and the rest of the Madison Square Garden properties). The Rockets beat the Knicks in Game 7, 90–84, enabling the city of Houston to not only celebrate its first NBA Championship.

Toyota Center

Toyota Center is an indoor arena located in downtown Houston, Texas. It is named after the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota. The arena is home to the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association.

Rockets owner Leslie Alexander first began to request a new arena in 1995, and attempted to release the Rockets from their lease at The Summit, which ran until 2003. However, he was denied by arena owner Chuck Watson, then-owner of the Aeros, who also wanted control of a new arena. The two sides agreed to equal control over an arena in a deal signed in 1997, but the proposal was rejected by city voters in a 1999 referendum. It was not until the city and the Rockets signed an amended agreement in 2001, excluding the Aeros, that the proposal was accepted.

Construction began in July 2001, and the new arena was officially opened in September 2003. The total costs were $235 million, with the city of Houston paying the majority, and the Rockets paying for enhancements. Toyota paid $100 million for the naming rights.

Rockets Primary Logo History No Alternate Logo History No Wordmark Logo History


Team Information Team History

San Diego - Houston

Rockets - The San Diego franchise nickname became the "Rockets"which used the name because it was a "city in motion" and due to the local development (General Dynamics) of the Liquid-fuel Atlas missile and booster rocket program. San Diego was the home to many space-age manufacturers.

Toyota Center
2003 - present
The Summit
1975 - 2003
Hofheinz Pavilion
1971 - 1975

*San Diego*
San Diego Sports Arena 
1967 - 1971

Leslie Alexander
1993 - present
Charlie Thomas
1982 - 1993
Gavin Maloof
1980 - 1982
George J. Maloof, Sr.
1979 - 1980
Kenneth Schnitzer
1976 - 1979
James Talcott Incorporated
1975 - 1976
Irvin Kaplan
1973 - 1975
Billy Goldberg, Wayne Duddlesten, Mickey Herskowitz
1971 - 1973
Robert Breitbard
1967 - 1971

Established: 1967

League History:
National Basketball Association
1967 - present

Team History:
Houston Rockets
1971 - present
San Diego Rockets
1967 - 1971

NBA Championships: 2
1995, 1994

Retired Numbers:
2 Clyde Drexler
23 Calvin Murphy
24 Moses Malone
34 Hakeem Olajuwon
45 Rudy Tomjanovich
CD Carroll Dawson

  *Red is this team's history

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