Nearly every season, NBA franchises will roll out throwback jerseys to honor the past. This season, the Rockets are going way back and leaving the city of Houston to tap into the franchise's origins.
The Houston Rockets have unveiled new yellow and green alternate jerseys harkening back to their days in San Diego. While they may remind some older fans of the Seattle Supersonics, some younger fans may be amazed that not only did Seattle once have a team but so did San Diego.
The Rockets forgotten San Diego history
Perhaps it's common knowledge, but the Rockets began their NBA journey in 1967 as the San Diego Rockets. The team name of Rockets fits the city of Houston so perfectly that it seems utterly impossible that it wasn't handpicked.
Incredibly out-of-place names due to franchise relocation has a long history in the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers? Have you been to southern California? Not that many lakes. The Utah Jazz? No offense, but ask Vernon Maxwell how Jazzy Utah is. Memphis Grizzlies? There are no grizzly bears east of the Mississippi. And the Sacramento Kings? Kings? For real, the Kings? Calling yourself the Kings and then missing the playoffs for nearly two straight decades is certainly a choice.
The San Diego Rockets were named to represent the city's theme of "a city in motion" and the General Dynamics development of the Atlas missile and booster rocket program. There was a time when naming teams after a region's industry was in vogue (Pittsburg Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Fort Wayne Pistons, Baltimore Bullets), and the Rockets were following that trend.
While the Rockets wouldn't last long in San Diego, leaving in 1971, the name would endure without ridicule due to a decision made a decade earlier. In 1961, the city of Houston was chosen by NASA to be the site Johnson Space Center, and thus its connection to Rockets was born.
The new jerseys may provide a color shock for fans accustomed to red, white, yellow, and black as the go-to colors, but adding a little green into the equation will open up the wardrobe considerably for the most stylish Rockets fans.