Space City exclusive interview with Rockets’ reporter Vanessa Richardson

Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Indiana Pacers Reggie Miller (Photo credit should read MATT CAMPBELL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Is Reggie Miller the greatest shooter ever?

Again, I won’t hide my bias here. I do understand the argument for Ray Allen, but you have to put Reggie in that conversation, and most people do.

What separated Reggie was his ability to make shots on the move and with hands in his face. He finagled himself out of situations and still came away with the bucket. He wasn’t the shooter with the prettiest shot, but it didn’t matter.

Speaking of all-time greats, you recently had an interview with Elvin Hayes, who is not only one of the greatest players in NBA history, but also one of the most storied Houston sports figures of all time. What was that like?

One of the most overlooked things about him is that he was one of the University of Houston’s first black recruits, along with Don Cheney. I know other people know that, but that was an incredible story for him to tell during Black History month.

The stories he told me were out of this world. In fact many Houstonians were unaware of alot of the things he went through. When then coach Guy Lewis first picked him up, he was scared because he had never been in a car with white people. His mom had a hard time watching his games on the road because hotels wouldn’t let her stay.

He said that people would cheer for him on the basketball court but wouldn’t sit next to him in class. By the time he graduated, donors had started to realize the importance of recruiting black athletes. He and Cheney had no clue that they were going to have that impact.

Even though you hear about these things in history books, it was shocking to hear someone talk about them, because it wasn’t that long ago. As a white person, I needed to hear that again, and I think we should all take black history seriously.

What do you think about current Houston Rockets star James Harden’s legacy?

I like to wait until players’ careers are over, because you don’t want to short them. But I think we’re starting to see Harden’s legacy emerge. The Rockets were 17-2 in games in which Harden scored at least 40 points this season.

When Harden is on fire, he’s able to take care of the rest of the team. He’s put himself in the conversation of the greatest scorers ever. When he retires, it’ll be really interesting to see where people put him.

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