Tina Thompson praises Rockets’ legend Carroll Dawson

Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets Rudy Tomjanavich, Carroll Dawson PHOTO/James NIELSEN (Photo by JAMES NIELSEN / AFP) (Photo by JAMES NIELSEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets Rudy Tomjanavich, Carroll Dawson PHOTO/James NIELSEN (Photo by JAMES NIELSEN / AFP) (Photo by JAMES NIELSEN/AFP via Getty Images) /

Basketball Hall of Famer Tina Thompson issued praise for Houston Rockets legend Carroll Dawson.

Carroll Dawson is one of the true icons in Houston Rockets history. Dawson was responsible for Hall of Fame coach Rudy Tomjanovich taking the Rockets’ head coaching position, as Tomjanovich initially felt unsure of himself in such a role.

Dawson spent 17 years as an assistant head coach with the Houston Rockets, as he was on the staff of Del Harris, Bill Fitch, Don Chaney, and Tomjanovich, while being part of both Rockets’ championships. Former Rockets guard Terry Teagle provided an account of how Dawson’s presence was invaluable for the Rockets.

“Carroll was really good at strategizing and could adjust on the fly. He had been around the league for quite a while, so he knew every NBA player’s best move from experience, which also gave us an advantage.”

Dawson later became the GM of the Rockets and was responsible for the Rockets adding the below players:

  • Cuttino Mobley
  • Steve Francis
  • Yao Ming
  • Tracy McGrady
  • Chuck Hayes
  • Shane Battier

Dawson thrived as both a coach and executive, and lasted a total of 27 years with the organization. Carroll left such an impact on the Rockets that a banner was later hung in the Toyota Center with the initials “CD” on it, symbolizing his initials.

But what’s even more impressive about Dawson’s resume is that he was simultaneously the general manager of the Rockets and the now defunct Houston Comets. Dawson built the Comets into a powerhouse, as they won four consecutive titles, including their first four in the league.

Dawson landed three Hall of Fame players in Cynthia Cooper, Tina Thompson, and Sheryl Swoopes, not to mention Hall of Fame coach Van Chancellor. Thompson recently joined the Knuckleheads podcast and gave the former Houston Rockets coach-turned-executive his due credit.

Thompson praises Rockets’ legend Carroll Dawson.

“We knew that we were really good. And it’s a credit to Carroll Dawson, he was the president of the Houston Rockets. He picked that team. His basketball mind is unbelievable. Carroll Dawson is a student of the game.

He picked our team, including me, from like a box of tapes. So he just went through hours and hours of tape. And didn’t know any of us, hadn’t met us, had no idea who I was.

He just watched everybody. It wasn’t just us in there, it was the whole league. So he’s going through all this film and he picks our team from a box of cassette tapes, VHS. It was crazy.”

Dawson and the Comets held the first overall pick in the 1997 WNBA Draft, which isn’t always an enviable position to be in. Oftentimes we see teams select players that don’t last in the league or that simply never fulfill their potential.

But Dawson wisely selected Thompson with the first overall pick, as she later explained.

“He told Les, this is who we need to pick. Van Chancellor wanted to draft Pam McGee and Carroll was like ‘we’re going with Tina.’ That’s how I became the number one pick.”

Dawson was able to assemble a legendary roster on the Comets, while also acquiring franchise cornerstones on the Rockets at the same time. Not to mention the fact that he helped spear the transition from Rudy Tomjanovich to Jeff Van Gundy, who ended the Rockets’ four-year playoff drought.

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It’s safe to say Dawson is one of the most brilliant basketball minds the sport has ever seen.