Houston Rockets: 30 Greatest players in franchise history

By Ben Beecken
Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny Smith, Robert Horry, Vernon Maxwell, Otis Thorpe (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny Smith, Robert Horry, Vernon Maxwell, Otis Thorpe (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets Mario Elie (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Mario Elie (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

169. . . Small Forward. Mario Elie. 22


  • Five seasons with the Rockets (1993-98)

  • Averaged 9.8 points and 3.1 assists per game

  • 2x NBA Champion with the Rockets

Mario Elie played for six different teams in his 11-year NBA career, and five of those seasons were spent with the Houston Rockets.

Elie was originally drafted in the seventh (!) round out of American International College by the Milwaukee Bucks. He was waived shortly afterwards and signed and waived by the Los Angeles Lakers before catching on with the Philadelphia 76ers on a 10-day contract.

Then, after three games with the 76ers, he caught on with the Golden State Warriors, first on a 10-day deal and then for the rest of the season. After one additional full season with the Warriors, Elie played a year with the Portland Trail Blazers before he was traded to Houston.

In Houston, Elie found a home, playing in 344 games over five seasons, averaging 9.8 points and 3.1 assists per game.

The Rockets won the title in Elie’s first year on the team, and repeated in his second season. Then, Elie’s role expanded and he averaged north of 11 points per game in two consecutive seasons. The Rockets were still a playoff team, but nowhere near as dominant as they had been in the two prior years.

Elie was an important role player throughout his Rockets career, pitching in good defense and solid offense both off the bench and in the starting lineup when he was needed.

Elie finished his career with a pair of seasons with the San Antonio Spurs and one year with the Phoenix Suns in 2000-01.

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