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[Grantland] The Greatest Team That Never Was
Tags:  80's, basketball, disappointment, drugs, grantland, hakeem olajuwon, history, houston, houston rockets, nba, olajuwon, retro rockets, school Tags
gah is offline Old 11-08-2012, 10:50 AM   #1
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Dunks, drugs, and disappointment: an oral history of the 1980s Houston Rockets.
By Jonathan Abrams.

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/...ouston-rockets
 
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tinman is offline Old 11-08-2012, 10:58 AM   #2
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Absolutely. Thanks for posting.

Quote:
Heisler: [The Rockets] never took any heat over it. It seemed logical. They drafted Hakeem in '84 … in '86, they're in the Finals.
This is the real story.

Quote:
Hakeem Olajuwon (center, Rockets): Clyde [Drexler] was available and the city and everybody wanted him to stay in the city. Bill Fitch, he had a different vision with Rodney.4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutch
I think Harden summed it up best. When asked afterwards why so many players want to work out with Dream, Harden said, “Did you see his highlights? Did you see what he did when he played?”
 
tinman is offline Old 11-08-2012, 11:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutch
I think Harden summed it up best. When asked afterwards why so many players want to work out with Dream, Harden said, “Did you see his highlights? Did you see what he did when he played?”
 
Akim523 is offline Old 11-08-2012, 11:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinman View Post
Mad props to the ref, Hakeem would have killed that dude.
 
NL Rocket is offline Old 11-08-2012, 11:40 AM   #5
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Good article, also shows you what a good coach will do for you.
 
HI Mana is offline Old 11-08-2012, 11:47 AM   #6
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It says a lot about the commissioner's reputation right now that I read this:

Quote:
Reid: They were leaving the club and this guy came up and told them, "Hey, man, I've got something outside. This is the good ****. It's the best. Just take a little bump." And they told me, they took a little bump. The next day, [former NBA security chief] Horace Balmer and them are at practice. They were there at 9 a.m. when we started practice. You cannot leave New York City in the morning to be in Houston that early in the morning. So you would have had to be there the night before. I knew then. I knew then that they got set up.

Lloyd: We were definitely set up. Probably somebody on our team set us up. I don't know. It was unbelievable.

Fitch: I stayed up all night with [Wiggins] before they were coming in. He said, "Don't worry about it, Coach. I'm clean."

Leavell: It was like there was no question that they were going to fail the drug test. The moment they came in, I could see on their faces they were saying "crap."

Reid: It was as if you broke the law the night before and you felt you got away with it, and here comes the man.

Reid: They broke that team up. They did what they wanted to do. You took millions away from those two guys for a onetime mistake. And now look. They have not did that to nobody in soccer, basketball, football, baseball. For life? For the first time?
And I can totally believe that Stern, who freely admits that the NBA depended on the Bird/Magic rivalry in order to survive, tore down the Rockets to keep the Lakers in the finals, and to appease other owners who were still bitter that the Rockets tanked their way to the twin towers.



You don't mess with Mr. McStern
 
tinman is offline Old 11-08-2012, 12:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akim523 View Post
Mad props to the ref, Hakeem would have killed that dude.
you mean Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutch
I think Harden summed it up best. When asked afterwards why so many players want to work out with Dream, Harden said, “Did you see his highlights? Did you see what he did when he played?”
 
Rocket_4_Life is offline Old 11-08-2012, 12:23 PM   #8
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Excellent article. 85-86 was the 1st year I truly became a Rockets fan. I watched the team before, but I was pretty young and wasn't as interested. I was more of an Oiler fan before that.

Been a fan ever since.

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DaGreatest is offline Old 11-08-2012, 12:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akim523 View Post
Mad props to the ref, Hakeem would have killed that dude.
i think that was kupchack

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"They just isolate Hakeem," Jordan said. "He's an All-Star player. He got hot and the way to stop him when he gets like that is simple -- you don't let him get the ball.
"Because when he does get it, you can't stop him. We have no one who can match up with him. No one."
 
Clutch is offline Old 11-08-2012, 01:44 PM   #10
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This quote is hysterical.

Referee Jess Kersey: Somebody punched me in the head and I yelled up, "I don't know which one of you just punched me in the head, but if I find out, you're going to be ejected." With that, Bill Fitch said to me, "Jess, I know who punched you." Of course in the heat of the moment, I look at Bill and say, "Who was it?" He said, "It was Kareem and Magic."

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Rashmon is offline Old 11-08-2012, 01:56 PM   #11
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Wow, that was a great trip down memory lane. Thanks.
 
kaleidosky is offline Old 11-08-2012, 02:12 PM   #12
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favorites:

Imagine today's Oklahoma City Thunder never fulfilling their potential, getting sidetracked by injuries and drugs, wiping their roster clean, then winning championships with an aged Kevin Durant nearly a decade later. That's how it played out for the "Twin Towers."



John Lucas (guard, Rockets): Bill Fitch saved my life. He was the one coach that told me that enough was enough.

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MykTek is offline Old 11-08-2012, 02:22 PM   #13
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that was a fun read! thx for the post
 
BeeBeard is offline Old 11-08-2012, 02:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akim523 View Post
Mad props to the ref, Hakeem would have killed that dude.
Still an Akeem in those days.

Hakeem would have faked him three times going to one shoulder, done a spin move, and then hit him with a fadeaway right hook.
 
Rashmon is offline Old 11-08-2012, 02:25 PM   #15
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Some of my favorites:

Reid: The late, great Dennis Johnson, one time he brought the ball up to half court and I opened up the gate. He said, "Reid, what are you doing? You ain't going to play no defense?" I said, "Look down there. Do you feel lucky?" He cussed me out.

Lewis Lloyd (guard, Rockets): Playing on defense, I used to let a lot of guys go down there. "Go ahead." I used to tell Hakeem and Ralph that, "If I let them go, block that to me and if y'all keep coming, I'll throw it back to you. If not, I'm slamming it myself."
 
SC1211 is online now Old 11-08-2012, 02:57 PM   #16
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This ought to be stickied. Seriously, every Rockets fan needs to read this and learn about the history here. What an excellent, excellent article. Props to Grantland and Jonathan Abrams for putting it together. Always knew Bill Simmons had a soft spot for the 86 Rockets (in his Book of Basketball, he has this team as one of the greatest what ifs). So glad to see all of these guys interviewed and the story fleshed out from so many perspectives.
 
rhadamanthus is offline Old 11-08-2012, 03:02 PM   #17
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Good read. But he ruins it at the end.

Quote:
Olajuwon claimed his elusive championships in 1994 and 1995 when Michael Jordan took his baseball sabbatical, doing it without any of his teammates from the '85-'86 season.
Good grief.

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BeeBeard is offline Old 11-08-2012, 03:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhadamanthus View Post
Good read. But he ruins it at the end.



Good grief.
It's dumb because it's not like Jordan's Bulls teams and Hakeem's Rockets teams never played each other. The Bulls always dreaded that Texas road trip that took them through the Summit. And they would typically lose to Houston, too.

Hakeem would go off against Bill Cartwright and the Bulls' caucasian stiffs at center, and then Vernon Maxwell would get that crazy Vernon Maxwell look in his eye and would shut down Michael Jordan.

This is a thing that would actually happen! Pretty frequently! The Rockets would win the season series!

So the hurf durf about only getting the chips with no Jordan never made any sense. It was an argument made by people who didn't watch basketball.

It's just a way of trying to diminish Hakeem. Dream can't be bothered to be at the absolute peak of his powers season upon season upon season while MJ serves out his informal gambling suspension whoops I mean decides he likes baseball better. Come on now.
 
LonghornFan is offline Old 11-08-2012, 03:31 PM   #19
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Excellent read, starting to REALLY love Grantland!
 
rocketsqtc is offline Old 11-08-2012, 03:43 PM   #20
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Robert Reid is hilarious.

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