Although their best player ever was born in Nigeria, the Houston Rockets have had some of the greatest U.S. born players in NBA history.
Since forming in 1967 in San Diego, the Rockets have been privileged enough to have some of the NBA’s greatest players ever showcase their talents for the franchise. After moving to Texas in 1971, the Houston Rockets have since made the NBA Finals four times, capturing two NBA titles in the process.
Through the years, the Rockets have had 12 players that ended up making it to the NBA Hall of Fame after having illustrious careers, with nine of those being born in the United States. It’s safe to say you’ll be seeing their names as we go through this list of the best Rockets ever from each applicable state in the country.
Before we jump into the list, let’s take a moment to recognize the best international players to ever suit up for Clutch City.
Hakeem Olajuwon, easily the greatest Houston Rocket ever, was born in Lagos Nigeria in 1963. Over Olajuwon’s 17 seasons in Houston, he made the All-Star team 12 times, led the team to two championships and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.
Yao Ming, born in Shanghai, China, was not only a tremendous talent but brought international attention to the Rockets and the league in general. The eight-time All-Star was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.
Dikembe Mutombo, from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, didn’t have much left in the tank by the time he found his way to H-Town at age 38, but his career speaks for itself. Even though he averaged 9.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game over his career, his efforts as a humanitarian are what really made Mutombo special.
Shifting gears to U.S-born athletes that passed through Houston, there was some interesting data that came from separating them all by states. Predictably, the states that had the most were California (23) and New York (27), followed by Illinois.
There were14 states that have never birthed an NBA player that was signed by the Rockets, so they will be skipped in the list. They are as follows:
Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming
With 36 states to count down, we’ll begin alphabetically, with Alabama. Here are the greatest Houston Rockets ever from each state in the United States.
*Note: All statistics provided will be from each player’s time as a Rocket only.