Like other Houston titles, a Rockets title shouldn’t have an asterisk

Russell Westbrook James Harden (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook James Harden (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Many believe there will be an asterisk if the Houston Rockets win the title this year. Here’s why that couldn’t be any more incorrect.

When the NBA first announced it’s hiatus, we didn’t know what to expect. Would we have an opportunity to watch the Houston Rockets again this season or would the league start over with a new season? On top of that, there were also many other questions that seemed as if they were about to go unanswered, depending on the outcome of the season.

We’ve heard reports of optimism of late, and that the league is determined to crown a champion for this season. We’ve even heard about how the league would even be interested in having a shortened playoff format, just to have a semblance of a postseason.

If there is a shortened playoff, it would seem to benefit a team like the Rockets, who live and die by the 3-pointer. This means they’d only have to light it up from downtown in a few games, as opposed to the normal four games it would take to win a seven-game series.

The Rockets have a great chance to surprise many, especially with their first round series presumably being against the Denver Nuggets, which is a team they’ve had alot of success against in the past. But if the Rockets do win the championship, there will be many who will dismiss the title because of the league’s lengthy hiatus.

This would be unfair for a number of reasons. For starters, LeBron James‘ first championship came during the lockout-shortened season of 2011-12, and that never gets discussed. LeBron is a media favorite, and no one wants to take away a title he earned. But beyond that, every team had to deal with the same circumstances, so it’s not like he had an unfair advantage in that regard.

The same would be true this season for the Rockets. Every team has dealt with the exact same hiatus, so the Rockets aren’t getting an extra boost with these circumstances. Granted, with the Rockets being one of the oldest teams in the league, they could sure use a bit of rest. They also got to get one of their key players healthy again in Eric Gordon, but that’s not something that happened just for them individually.

The topic of titles with an asterisk is a bit of a sensitive subject for Houstonians, as many in the sports world have decided to discount two of the city’s sports titles. If you weren’t up-to-speed, many believe the Houston Rockets title of 1993-94 wouldn’t have happened were it not for the unexpected retirement of Michael Jordan.

Although MJ’s decision wasn’t the Rockets’ doing, there’s been an asterisk next to that championship in the minds of many, because of it. Many of those same people have also decided to put an asterisk next to another Houston sports title, which came in the form of the Houston Astros winning the World Series in 2017.

The Astros recently had sanctions levied against them for using technology in a sign-stealing scheme, which has caused the detractors to dismiss the championship altogether. The Astros case provides proof of a selective bias, however, because it was determined that they were only doing that in their home games. But if you recall that series, the Astros actually won Game 7 on the road, which was obviously the deciding game.

If the Rockets are the ones holding the trophy in the end, as opposed to the Los Angeles Lakers or the Milwaukee Bucks, that could never be taken away. And it also shouldn’t be questioned, considering how much scrutiny they’ve had to deal with this season.

The Rockets were at the center of the biggest sports scandal this season, regarding general manager Daryl Morey, and they were able to press along as if it never happened. There have also been those in the national media who have made it their quest to dish out as much adversity to the Rockets as possible, which includes bogus claims of the Rockets seeking to trade Russell Westbrook, and the ludicrous reports of distrust between James Harden and Russ.

We’ve also heard speculation all year regarding the future of Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, which surely takes a toll on the team and the players. The Rockets have also defied conventional basketball logic by getting rid of the traditional center, which was a strategic decision nearly everyone in the media adamantly declared would be unsuccessful.

So if the Rockets are in fact able to win a championship this season, despite all they would have had to overcome, it shouldn’t have an asterisk. And it would be disrespectful to even attach one, because it would complete the legacies of Mike D’Antoni, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Daryl Morey, as it would be the first title for each of them.

Next. Exclusive interview with former Rockets guard Terry Teagle

But even if people were to try and attach an asterisk next to it, the trophy would forever remain with the Houston Rockets, if they were to win it.