I’d like to begin with a basic statement that is hard to dispute: in the era of social media, opinion-on-demand and 24-hour breaking news, the wide lens has been sacrificed. We crave new experiences, new information and new nothingness. Because it’s new. Content supersedes context.
This is true in local news, where more attention is paid to last night’s three-car crash on I-45 — an event that occurs in near-identical form every day — than the broad economic and cultural trends in the area.
It is true in politics, where a horse race poll of the governor’s contest will be discussed and debated on all media platforms, but the underlying roots of individual voter preference — of modern conservatism and liberalism — and how cultural history informs our views and sense of community, is never mentioned.
It is arguably most true in sports, where we would rather discuss the latest rumor of where a player might sign when he is a free agent in 2016 than the reasons we care in the first place, and the history we have with our teams that make their success important to us.
The Rockets are finishing up a series of off-season moves, non-moves and draft picks that have marginally reduced their odds of winning a championship in 2015, and have had an unknown impact on their longer-term forecast. Enough words have been printed, including here at SCS, to break down every detail of that statement.
Rather than engaging in endless insta-analysis, we are going to do something different over the next two weeks.
The upcoming Rockets History Project, which begins tomorrow here at SCS, will include several components:
1. Player-by-player profiles of the 20 greatest Rockets players of all time, with emphasis placed on why these men mattered to the direction of the franchise. We will begin this countdown on Sunday with player #20.
2. An extensive feature story — including exclusive SCS interviews with members of the team — on the 1974-75 Rockets, a 40th anniversary celebration of a fascinating collection of individuals who led Houston to their first-ever playoff berth and series victory.
3. A look at the city of Houston, and how its remarkable growth over the past few decades correlates and intertwines with the success of the Rockets.
Context makes the present richer, and more worthwhile. For fans who want an in-depth look at what it means and has meant to play NBA basketball in Houston, the Rockets History Project will be a worthwhile read every day.
From within the humidity of another Houston summer, and in the aftermath of an unfulfilling off-season, let’s take a moment to zoom out and appreciate what it means — and has meant — to be a Rocket.