History and League Success
The team entered the league in 1967 as an expansion team, the San Diego Rockets (the name came from a local employer which was a rocket manufacturer) and relocated to Houston in 1971 (with the ready-made nickname, fitting for the home of NASA's Mission Control).
The Rockets have made the NBA Finals four times, winning consecutive titles in 1994 and 1995 (the two years that Michael Jordan left the NBA to pursue a basketball career). The 1981 team made the Finals with a sub-.500 record (the most recent team to do so) while the 1995 championship team was the 6 seed out of the Western Conference (the lowest-seeded team to win the title).
NBA Southwest Division Rivals
In addition to #6, retired league-wide for Bill Russell, the Rockets have retired the following numbers:
- 11--Yao Ming
- 22--Clyde Drexler
- 23--Calvin Murphy
- 34--Hakeem Olajuwon
- 44--Elvin Hayes
- 45--Rudy Tomjanovich (also served as the team's head coach)
The Rockets have also "retired" the initials CD for Carroll Dawson, who served in many capacities for the team (including assistant coach and general manager) for 27 seasons.
Official Team Website