The History of Throwback Houston Rockets Jerseys
San Diego, California, was the birthplace of the Rockets in 1967, sporting green and gold uniforms.
The Rockets won just 15 games in their inaugural season. They selected power forward Elvin Hayes as their first overall selection in the 1968 NBA Draft. Hayes led the team to its first playoff appearance in his rookie year.
The name Rockets stuck when the team relocated to Houston in 1971. They wore the same jersey design as in San Diego, but they changed the uniform colors to red and yellow. Then, during their second season in Houston, the Rockets changed the font of their jerseys, adding the now-famous slanted team name across the top of the jersey.
After trading Hayes for center Moses Malone, the Rockets finished the 1976-77 season with a winning record. Moses Malone became one of the best players in the NBA while playing for the Rockets. While he was in Houston, he also won two "Most Valuable Player" awards.
During the same season, the Rockets "retired" their yellow jersey lettering in favor of red uniforms with white letters. Additionally, they added the word "ROCKETS" on the right leg of the shorts.
In the 77' - 95' era, Houston's uniforms changed again. The classic throwback Rockets jersey was red with white lettering and yellow trim. In addition, the Rockets logo was displayed on the shorts.
It was no surprise that the Rockets team was among the best in the league by 1981. The team managed to reach the NBA Finals with Malone, where it played the Boston Celtics. This was the first time the team had ever appeared in the NBA finals.
Unfortunately, the Celtics beat the team in six games. In 1982, Malone left the team, leaving it hanging in the balance without him.
The Rockets recruited Hakeem Olajuwon in the 1984 NBA Draft. He was paired with Ralph Sampson, who at 7 ft 4 in (2.24 meters), they formed one of the NBA's tallest and intimidating front courts. They were often called the "Twin Towers."
The pair led Houston to the NBA Finals in 1986, where the Boston Celtics defeated Houston once again. In the following seven seasons, they lost five times in the first round of the playoffs. Despite the Rockets' continued qualification for postseason play throughout the 1980s, they never made it past the second round of the playoffs.
In the middle of the 1991–92 season, Rudy Tomjanovich took over as head coach.
Olajuwon led the Rockets to their first championship against the New York Knicks in '94. When the Rockets added All-Star Clyde Drexler, they won another NBA championship in 1995, defeating Orlando in four games. Other key players from this season include Sam Cassell, Kenny Smith, and Robert Horry.
As a result, Houston finished with a 47-35 record for the season and was seeded sixth in the Western Conference. Historically, this was the team's most successful period.
The Houston Rockets obtained Charles Barkley in '96. Nevertheless, this move failed to help the team advance past the Western Conference Finals.