Hey, guys. Sorry you haven’t heard from me in a few days, but my three-year-old brought home a stomach virus from preschool on Friday, which has naturally made its way over to my wife and I, so the last 48 hours haven’t been fun.
But this is something that’s been on my mind lately, especially with the complaints about the negativity in game threads and also the incredibly erratic FanPulse thus far this season. So I’m literally taking a few moments between vomits (now that’s dedication, ha) to reflect a bit on our human condition as Rockets (and Houston in general) fans. Especially in light of yesterday’s heart-wrenching NFL defeat by the Texans. Houston fans have been through a lot of tough times.
And Rockets fans individually have had more than their fair share since winning back-to-back NBA titles 25 years ago. The loss to the KD-less Golden State Warriors. Chris Paul’s pulled hammy away from a likely title (and lest anyone wants to think we forgot, yes, 27 missed threes). The James Harden was-he-concussed-or-was-he-not moment against San Antonio. Dame Lillard 0.9 seconds. Yao and T-Mac what could have been (injuries, multiple losses to the Utah Jazz). John Stockton’s Game 6 buzzer beater.
It’s been a lot.
It’s also very easy to get disgruntled listening to the constant things said about the team, its star, and its fanbase. We’ve heard it all from critics, and I don’t need to get into the litany of derogatory things said about James Harden by the national media or the unending stream of gaslighting we’ve received from opposing fanbases. Or the too-numerous-too-count shady-lookin’ slights from NBA officials. On top of that, Russell Westrbook has yet to be fully accepted by the fanbase, and short of the Rockets winning the title this year, I have my doubts that he ever will.
And I’m guilty of that too. When the Russ trade happened, I did — and still do — have my doubts, but I’m slowly becoming a believer. After a slow start, Russ has really come on of late, and the Rockets are winning at an almost 70-percent clip.
Which brings me to my next thought. Instead of dwelling on the 25 years or the negativity, we’ve actually been a pretty dang lucky group of fans. The Rockets have won at least 53 games in five out of the last six seasons. They haven’t finished with a losing season since 2006. There’s only been three losing seasons since the back-to-back titles in ‘95. So that’s three in 25 years.
The Rockets have one of the three best players on the planet, one of the league’s most successful (and the franchise’s most successful, going by win percentage) coaches, and one the best GMs in the league. There are some unanswered questions about new ownership, and while that can be a legitimate area of concern, the newcoming owner is at least aware of the window they are in. There’s many franchises in all sports that would happily trade situations with us.
Some places have it bad. Going back to the NFL for a moment, as I’ve mentioned to you all a few times since I’ve been to TDS, I’m not a Houston native. I am as die-hard of a Rockets fan as you will see, but I do have an eclectic group of teams I am a fan of. Growing up in Pittsburgh, the never-ending stream of Steelers worship was simply too much to take. I grew up in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and there wasn’t a better franchise at the time than the Oakland/Los Angeles/Oakland again/soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders. That’s my team.
But you want to see true hardship, just look at those boys since 2002. This isn’t a football column, (not to mention it just took me 6 hours to write 700 words between pukes) so I’m not going to get too far into that, but the point being, we have it pretty damn good as Rockets fans. And while the ultimate goal should always be a title, and I do believe The Beard has one in him, let’s remember that in the big picture, we’ve had it pretty easy. Our Rockets have been good to us. We should continue to be good to them.
Which following conclusion best describes how you feel? Rockets fans are:
This poll is closed
Disgruntled from hardship
Spoiled from three decades of mostly success and just getting antsy
Totally jealous of Luka