The NBA continues to expand adding a team in Seattle and San Diego. The San Diego franchise was named the Rockets since it was the city where the Atlas Rockets for NASA were made. The Rockets did not blast off right away as they dropped their first two games at home against the St. Louis Hawks on October 14th and ...
In 1968, after the Rockets won a coin toss against the Baltimore Bullets to determine who would have the first overall pick in the 1968 NBA draft, they selected Elvin Hayes from the University of Houston. Hayes improved the Rockets’ record to 37 wins and 45 losses, enough for the franchise’s first-ever playoff appearance in 1969, but the Rockets lost ...
The Rockets’ front office tried to bring the franchise back to respectability by hiring venerable Alex Hannum (left) as head coach (and General Manager) for the 1971 – 1972 season. Hannum immediately overhauled the team’s entire image: the team colors (and uniforms) were changed from orange and black to columbine blue and yellow (the colors of the columbine, Colorado’s state ...
Because of the low performance and attendance, Breitbard looked to sell the team, and in 1971, Texas Sports Investments bought the franchise for $5.6 million and moved the team to Houston. The franchise became the first NBA team in Texas, and the nickname “Rockets” took on even greater relevance after the move, given Houston’s long connection to the space industry.
History of the Rockets
The Rockets were founded in 1967 in San Diego by Robert Breitbard, who paid an entry fee of US $1.75 million to join the NBA as an expansion team for the 1967 – 1968 NBA season. The NBA wanted to add more teams in the Western United States and chose San Diego based on the city’s strong economic and population growth, along with the local success of an ice hockey team owned by Breitbard, the San Diego Gulls. The resulting contest to name the franchise chose the name “Rockets”, which paid homage to San Diego’s theme of “a city in motion” and the local arm of General developing the Atlas missile and booster rocket program.
Because of poor performance and attendance, Breitbard sold the team in 1971 to Texas Sports Investments, which was led by real estate broker Wayne Duddleston and banker Billy Goldberg. The group bought the franchise for $5.6 million and immediately moved the team to Houston. The franchise became the first NBA team in Texas, and the team's nickname of "Rockets" took on even greater relevance after the move since Houston is home to NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. The NBA would return to San Diego in 1978 when the Buffalo Braves moved to the city to become the Clippers; they too would leave the city for Los Angeles in 1984.
San Diego – Houston
1967 – Present / National Basketball Association
1971 – Present / Houston Rockets
1967 – 1971 / San Diego Rockets
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.
NBA Championships 0
2003 – Present / Toyota Center
1975 – 2003 / The Summit
1971 – 1975 / Hofheinz Pavilion
1967 – 1971 / San Diego Sports Arena
2017 – Present / Tilman Fertitta
1993 – 2017 / Leslie Alexander
1982 – 1993 / Charlie Thomas
1980 – 1982 / Gavin Maloof
1979 – 1980 / George J. Maloof, Sr.
1976 – 1979 / Kenneth Schnitzer
1975 – 1976 / James Talcott Incorporated
1973 – 1975 / Irvin Kaplan
1971 – 1973 / Billy Goldberg, Wayne Duddlesten, Mickey Herskowitz
1967 – 1971 / Robert Breitbard
To qualify as the greatest player for this team, the player must have played one season for this team. If not, we will remove the player.
* verifies that player has played for this team as an added player by a fan.
11 / Yao Ming
22 / Clyde Drexler
23 / Calvin Murphy
24 / Moses Malone
34 / Hakeem Olajuwon
45 / Rudy Tomjanovich
CD / Carroll Dawson
*Blue is this team’s history