San Diego Rockets Team FormationThe 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 ...
Elvin Hayes Number 1 PickIn 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 ...
Hiring of Alex HannumThe 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 ...
Leave for Houston, TexasBecause 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 San Diego Rockets were an American professional basketball team based in San Diego, California. The team played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1967 to 1971. Founded by Robert Breitbard, the Rockets were one of two expansion teams that joined the NBA for its 1967–68 season; they replaced a franchise that had moved to Houston and became known as the Houston Rockets.
In their first season, led by Hall of Fame coach Alex Hannum and star player Elvin Hayes, the Rockets finished with a 45-37 record and advanced to Western Division Finals before losing 4-2 against eventual champions St Louis Hawks. Although they failed to qualify for playoffs during their second year due mainly to injuries suffered by key players like Hayes or Jack Marin, they improved significantly over subsequent seasons. In 1969–70, the Rockets posted another winning record of 43-39 but again fell short of advancing past the divisional round. Finally, in 1970–71 under head coach Tex Winter's triangle offense system -which featured stars like Rudy Tomjanovich or Calvin Murphy –the Rockets clinched 51 wins which earned them a third-place finish in the western conference standings, securing them a spot at playoffs where they eventually lost 3 games 2 against Milwaukee Bucks.
Despite not having much success on the court while playing at San Diego Sports Arena between 1967 -1971, the Rockets' legacy still lives today as all fours years spent there are considered crucial parts of the franchise's history since they laid the foundations for future successes when relocated back home after six seasons into Texas city which gave the birth name "Houston" to this now legendary squad which won two championships during eighties decade thanks mainly talent acquired through drafts such as Hakeem Olajuwon or Ralph Sampson who both made enormous contributions towards those titles victories alongside veterans Moses Malone & Clyde Drexler among many others giving us memorable moments we'll never forget!
San Diego – Houston
1967 – Present / National Basketball Association
1971 – Present / Houston Rockets
1967 – 1971 / San Diego Rockets
Rockets – The San Diego Rockets are among the most iconic teams in the history of the NBA. The team was founded in 1967 and played its home games at the San Diego Sports Arena until 1971, when they moved to Houston, Texas. Despite having a relatively short tenure in San Diego, the Rockets have left an indelible mark on basketball fans everywhere. One of their most memorable contributions is their nickname origins: "Rockets."
The story behind how this name came to be is quite interesting. It all started with a contest held by original owner Robert Breitbard when he first established the franchise as part of the ABA (American Basketball Association). He asked local fans to come up with creative ideas for what his new team should be called. After receiving hundreds of submissions, he decided that "Rockets" would best represent his vision and pay homage to the nearby aerospace industry, which had been booming since World War II ended two decades prior.
Since then, many other franchises across different sports leagues have adopted similar nicknames such as “Jets” or “Aerospace,” but none can match up against what has become synonymous with success for San Diego's beloved former basketball squad - The Rockets! So next time you hear someone talking about why this legendary moniker still resonates today despite its brief stay in sunny California, you can proudly explain its fascinating origin story from over 50 years ago!
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