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Mattress Mack Is The New Rockets Owner Houston Deserves

Mattress Mack’s anything for Houston hurricane response proves he’s the new owner the Rockets deserve.

Gallery Furniture saves the city of Houston

Gallery Furniture saves you money the City of Houston?

There’s countless heroes of the most damaging flood in American history. From first responders working without rest, to stranded health care professionals who stayed with their patients, to community heroes who turned jet skis, inner tubes and blowup mattresses into a means of rescue.

Somewhere in this mix of heroics, kinship and help-thy-neighbor is Jim McIngvale, or as Houston knows him... Mattress Mack.

To anyone who has spent more than an hour watching TV in Houston you know Gallery Furniture “saves you money.”

Same that you know Casa Ole is “fresh today,Suit Mart has “suits and a whole lot more,” Hilton Furniture declares “that’s a fact jack” and Jim Adler is the “Texas Hammer.”

If Mattress Mack has an undeniable claim to fame it’s his three decades of local commercials which rest somewhere between Chuck Testa and the Micro Machines guy.

This week the ubiquitous TV commercial personality with a panache for headlines reached new heights when he opened the doors to his furniture showrooms. Doing so transformed his local celebrity into housing for displaced families, a place for National Guard members to sleep and hot meals for first responders.

Suddenly Mack’s name is in the headlines of CNN, NPR and Esquire (despite his known willingness to wear a mattress suit).

And now it’s clear as day... Mattress Mack is the Houston Rockets owner the city deserves (other than Les Alexander of course).

The multimillionaire has spent nearly his entire career catering to Houston. So much so, he’s never left the market. Despite owning the nation’s highest grossing per-square-foot independent furniture store he’s stayed in the Bayou City and given back to it.

Seemingly distraught by the cultural relevance of Dallas’ Cotton Bowl, Mack helped establish a college football bowl game in Houston, the Bowl now know as the Texas Bowl.

When the Houston Dynamo made the 2006 MLS Cup Final in Dallas Mack paid for buses to take fans to and from the game free of charge.

When an arsonist tried to burn one of Mack’s properties he responded by offering $300,000 worth of furniture to the Houston Fire Department as a thank you.

Chances are you’ve come across a USO station in an airport refurbished by Mattress Mack who made it a pet project to provide better accommodations for traveling military members. His philanthropic efforts were even recognized by President George H.W. and Barbara Bush when he was awarded a Point of Light Award.

The showman once lost $4 million to his own customers who he bet the dismal Astros wouldn’t win 63 games. They did and Mack refunded 500 customers their entire purchase.

Mattress Mack fits the bill of the ideal owner. He has Steve Ballmer enthusiasm, a love of Houston and a willingness to lose money if it puts on a good show. He arguably deserves to own the Houston Rockets.

This thought comes with a million corollaries. Perhaps he’d meddle too much or wouldn’t trust Daryl Morey. His affinity for the outrageous could include a pitch for playing 4-on-5 defense. All these things and countless more could be true.

But right now it’s tough to think of someone who has their heart and soul in the right place more than Mack.

There of course is a catch. Mack declared his interest in buying the team when the sale was announced, but was realistic about his need for a large ownership group.

At an estimated net worth of $70 million Mack could only fit into a complex and sprawling ownership group, not buy the team as an outright owner. Perhaps an irony of staying exclusive to Houston is not having the means to own the Rockets.

The unannounced price for the Rockets is hovering at $2 billion. And while Mack has done quite well, nearly 40 years of selling affordable furniture in a single metropolitan area can’t be turned into a professional sports team.

This reality doesn’t mean he’s not the owner the Rockets deserve at this point.

Full disclosure. The author of this article owned Gallery Furniture furniture growing up. Yes, it arrived the night it was purchased. Yes, it saved us money. And, yes, I got a free Houston Rockets basketball with the desk and dresser.