With the All-Star Game in Houston at the Toyota Center on Sunday, the city is in All-Star mode, but we decided to take a look back at Houston's top five All-Star memories.
5. In 1979 the NBA All Star Game was well represented with Rockets. For the first time in team history there were two Rockets in the starting lineup for the Eastern Conference in Moses Malone and Rudy Tomjanovich. The pair was joined by Calvin Murphy, who was named as a reserve on the All-Star team, as was former University of Houston star Elvin Hayes of the Washington Bullets. The trio of Rockets scored 26 points and Hayes chipped in 13, but the West won the game 134-129.
4. 1985, the two didn’t get into the starting lineup together, but Houston’s twin towers stood on the All-Star court for the first time together at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis. Ralph Sampson was voted in as a starter while Hakeem Olajuwon was a reserve as a rookie behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Olajuwon played sparingly, scoring six points in 15 minutes but the story was Sampson. The Rockets forward scored a team high 24 points for the West, leading them to a 140-129 win. After the game, Sampson was named the All Star Game MVP.
3. Though it sometimes gets lost because of how his career in Houston ended up, Tracy McGrady was nothing short of brilliant when he first arrived in Houston. In his second year in the Bayou City, he put on a show for the hometown fans, scoring a game high 36 points. A second half push by LeBron James and the East kept T-Mac from winning the game’s MVP, but for one night everything was perfect with Houston’s mercurial star.
2. There’s nothing better than hosting the NBA All Star Game, and Houston did it for the first time in 1989 at the Astrodome. Olajuwon represented the Rockets as the starting center for the Western Conference and helped them jump out to a 28 point halftime lead over Michael Jordan and the East. The game got closer in the second half, but the West cruised to a 143-134 win. Utah’s Karl Malone won the game’s MVP by scoring 28 points.
1. It was the best of times for Houston sports fans in February of 2006. The Astros were coming off their first World Series appearance and the Rockets were resurgent. Our favorite All Star game moment was in 2006 when Yao and McGrady were introduced as starters for the All Star Game at the Toyota Center in Houston. Yao was healthy, so was T-Mac, and the optimism of seeing the two paired together for years to come left Rockets fans thinking about the glory days of 1994 and 1995. Injuries to both players wiped out that dream, but at that moment, and how they played in the game left Houston fans swelling with pride.