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Rockets Mount Rushmore

In honor of July 4th, and also because we're in a lockout with nothing to talk about, I decided to elect who would be on the Rockets Mount Rushmore. If this was ever erected, I'd put it in that little park at Bell & La Branch across the street from Toyota Center.

Now to the list, the 1st man is an obvious choice. Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon is the Rockets all-time leader in games, minutes, field goals (made & attempted), free throws (made & attempted), rebounding (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks & points and in my opinion is the 2nd greatest center in NBA history. Olajuwon will never be replaced, he's not only the greatest Rocket ever but also the greatest athlete in Houston pro-sports history.

The second man is also pretty obvious; Moses Malone. While with the Rockets, Malone was a 5-time NBA All-Star, 4-time All-NBA selection, and 2-time NBA MVP. In 464 games with the Rockets, Malone averaged 23.9 points and 14.9 rebounds per game. The Rockets have a deep history of big-time big-men and Moses Malone is the 2nd greatest player in Rockets history.

Here it gets a little tougher but I believe this choice is also a no-brainer; Rudy Tomjanovich. Every Rocket fan knows Rudy T coached the Rockets to their only two championships, but not everyone remembers that he was a 5-time All-Star during his 11 year career. Rudy T averaged 17.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2 assists over his career all while shooting an impressive 50% from the field. Not bad for mostly a jump shooter; Bill Russell shot just 44% for his career, Larry Bird 49%. After "The Punch" in December 1977, Rudy T was never the same. He made a full recovery and played for 3 seasons afterwards, but his points and rebound numbers declined every year and retired at age 32. In my opinion when adding in his All-Star playing career and his 2 NBA Titles and Gold Medal as a coach, he deserves to be in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The last choice was tough but I believe it's the right one. At 5-9, 162 lbs, Calvin Murphy didn't let his small stature prevent him from putting up big numbers. Despite his size, Murphy was bigger than life and apart of one of the greatest Rocket drafts ever (1970, also drafted Rudy T). Murphy retired the Rockets all-time leader in assists, is 6th all-time in career free throw percentage, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.

Others I condsidered were Elvin Hayes, Clyde Drexler, Ralph Sampson, and Yao Ming. Each of those players could have made the list but injuries or just not playing here long enough hurt them for this honor.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.