It says a lot about the commissioner's reputation right now that I read this:
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.
Mad props to the ref, Hakeem would have killed that dude.
i think that was kupchack
Beamer, Benz or Bentley?
"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."
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."
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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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."
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.
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.