Houston Rockets legend receives prestigious lifetime achievement award

Houston Rockets legends Rudy Tomjanovich and Calvin Murphy
Houston Rockets legends Rudy Tomjanovich and Calvin Murphy / Marcus Ingram/GettyImages

Never underestimate the heart of a champion.

Those are the iconic words of Rudy Tomjanovich, perhaps the best head coach in Houston Rockets history, Tomjanovich led the Rockets to back-to-back championships in the 1990s.

Recently, he was awarded for his accomplishments.

Houston Rockets legend recognized for accomplishments

The National Basketball Coaches Association recognized Tomjanovich with the Chuck Daley Lifetime Achievement Award. The respect that he's earned from his peers is evident.

"Chuck Daly and Rudy Tomjanovich have many of the same amazing accomplishments and traits -- both won back to back NBA titles, both coached the United States to Olympic gold and both are absolutely beloved in the coaching community because of their great way with people"

Rick Carlisle, president of the NBCA

If you're old enough to remember the 1990s, you likely associate the NBA with the Chicago Bulls. Fair enough. The dynastic Bulls won six of nine possible titles throughout the decade.

The San Antonio Spurs managed to steal one once Michael Jordan retired. Otherwise, only one team tasted championship gold during the Jordan era. That was the Rockets, and Tomjanovich was instrumental in leading those teams. He was running 4-out offenses with Robert Horry at the 4 before anyone else conceived the notion.

Now, he's being recognized for his ingenuity.

Tomjanovich is a staple of Houston Rockets organization

Tomjanovich didn't just coach the Rockets. They drafted him as a player. Of course, at that time, they were the San Diego Rockets. They selected Tomjanovich with the 2nd overall pick in 1970.

Tomjanovich justified that selection. His best season came in 1973-74 when Tomjanovich averaged 24.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game.

He's forever stamped his legacy on this organization. Tomjanovich still goes to bat for former Rockets, too.

"I'm looking forward to the day that Sam Cassell is a head coach, and I want to see him cussing at players the way I cussed at him"

Rudy Tomjanovich

Even at 75, Tomjanovich hasn't lost his sense of humor. His Chuck Daley Lifetime Achievement Award was well deserved, and is a feather in the cap of the Rockets' organization as a whole:

Tomjanovich's importance to them cannot be underestimated.