The 5 Greatest Houston Rockets to Ever Play in the NBA All-Star Game
Houston Rockets All-Star Selections Continue on Tradition of Excellence
When the NBA All-Star Game tips off on Feb. 16 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, La. there will be a heap of talent on the court, and the Houston Rockets will be amongst the 17 teams represented. The Rockets' representation will come via superstar duo and franchise faces Dwight Howard and James Harden who will be featured off the bench for the Western Conference.
Both Howard and Harden have rightfully earned their roster spots as they rank amongst the best in the game at the position of center and shooting guard. Moreover, they have been the key cogs as the Rockets have gotten of to an incredible 35-17 start to the season which has the team in the fifth place in the Western Conference and looking like a near lock to make the playoffs for a second consecutive season.
Of course these two players are not the first stars for the Rockets franchise which has sent 16 different players to the All-Star game throughout its 43 year history, and 11 of these players made more than one game. Additionally, the team has a history of excellence, having made the playoffs 27 different times with two titles, which makes both this year's All-Stars and the on court results they represent something of a ritual in Houston.
Keeping this long history of great players and great teams in Houston in mind, I have formed a list of the five greatest players the franchise has ever sent to the All-Star game. For the purpose of this list, I have taken into account players who have performed excellent with the Rockets franchise and had an overall career of excellence no matter where they played.
5. Yao Ming
Yao Ming was a dominant force for the Rockets for the time he was actually on the court, making the All-Star Game in each of the eight NBA seasons he played. Some will criticize Yao for not playing long enough to make this list, but his numbers of 19 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.2 assists per game are nothing to scoff at. Simply put, the big man was a force in the paint, and he will ultimately become a Hall of Famer.
4. Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley played for the Houston Rockets for the last four seasons of his career, and although he only made one All-Star Game during this time the former power forward was a great basketball player. For the entirety of his career, Barkley made 11 All-Star Games, won one MVP Award and averaged 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. He may not have been huge in stature, but there was no doubting the tenacity of Barkley. His spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame was surely earned in full.
3. Clyde Drexler
Clyde Drexler only spent the last three and a half years of his career in Houston, but most fans will never forget him because of the 1995 NBA Championship the organization won. Drexler was a force to be reckoned with on the way to this championship as he averaged 20.5 points, seven rebounds, five assists and 1.5 steals per game in 22 playoff games. Clyde the Glide would go on to make the All-Star Game each of the next two seasons before ultimately retiring with 10 appearances and a Hall of Fame resume in hand.
2. Moses Malone
Moses Malone was an enormous star for the Rockets as he made the All-Star Game every year from 1977 to 1982 and also won two NBA MVP awards during this time. Houston would trade Malone to the Philadelphia 76ers prior to the 1982-83 season, and he would go on to make seven more All-Star Games during his career and be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001. All in all, Moses will go down as one of the best basketball players ever.
1. Hakeem Olajuwon
Of all the players who have ever suited up for the Rockets, none can ever step in the shadow of Hakeem Olajuwon. The seven-footer played in Houston for 17 out of his 18 career seasons, making 12 All-Star teams, winning two NBA Titles, two NBA MVP Awards and becoming one of the best centers in the history of basketball. Given the longevity that Olajuwon showed in Houston, there is no doubting his spot at the top of this list.