Mar. 30, 2011; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Aaron Brooks reacts after being ejected in the fourth quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the US Airways Center. The Thunder defeated the Suns 116-98. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
When I learned that Aaron Brooks was a Houston Rocket again, my mood instantly improved. I have always liked him. Perhaps I get it from my Grandma. She is a huge Rockets fan and has always had strong opinions about every player. The most notable was Tracy McGrady. She never liked him and made her judgements on a gut feeling she got from watching him. I was upset when Brooks left the Rockets. He had some great success with the team previously and is an exciting player to watch. After Brooks re-signed with the Rockets the other day, I decided to investigate in search of deeper reasons for why I like him.
I read stories about him becoming a father in his Junior year at Oregon, his up-and-down college career, and his year playing with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China last season. I watched videos of him cooking hot dogs in his hotel room in China and washing dishes in the bathroom sink. He married the mother of his child and is a family man. He said that the birth of his daughter gave him a sense of hope knowing that regardless of what happens, the thought of coming home to raise his child trumped everything. It also made it clear to him that he needed basketball.
Perhaps it is this maturity and connection with everyday life that I respond to. Brooks is a natural player. He is what one might call a ‘baller’. However, a common issue with ‘ballers’ is a tendency to not measure up on the human side of things. But what happens when someone so naturally gifted actually matures as a human being as well? Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon happen. I am not predicting that Brooks will join those ranks, but I get the feeling that he could be an integral part of a new championship era for the Rockets.
Hopefully my gut feeling about him materializes. Compared to the rest of the roster, he is a grizzled veteran. I have been calling for more of a veteran presence on the team for a while. I also read that Thomas Robinson returned the number 0 to Brooks after wearing it himself when both where with the Sacramento Kings last year. This deferential action says volumes for potential team chemistry. I haven’t been this excited for the Houston Rockets since the nineties and will cross my fingers that number 0 logs his first minutes as a reborn Rocket tonight in Oakland. Maybe he can come in and hit that 24th three point shot and stir up some controversy.