The Houston Rockets are returning to their roots with a special uniform that recognizes the beginnings of the franchise in Southern California.
The Rockets on Wednesday unveiled their “Hardwood Classic” edition uniforms for the upcoming NBA season, which for Houston starts Oct. 19 with a road game against the Atlanta Hawks. The team will occasionally where white jerseys and shorts with gold-and-green letters, numbers and trim, a departure from the Rockets’ usual red-based look and a tribute to their origins in San Diego in the late 1960s.
The San Diego Rockets, who debuted as an NBA expansion franchise in 1967 before moving to Houston in 1971, wore green, gold and white uniforms and featured players such as Elvin Hayes, Calvin Murphy, Pat Riley and Rudy Tomjanovich. All four have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, with Tomjanovich coaching the Rockets to their only two NBA championships in 1994 and 1995.
“There’s a common thread that we pull from to make our future promising,” narrator Tobe Nwigwe says in a video unveiling the uniforms on the Rockets’ website. “To paint the full picture of this rich Rockets history, you’ll have to go back to the very beginning. That thread wasn’t always red.”
The Rockets will wear the special uniforms during six home games at Toyota Center – Nov. 18 against Indiana, Nov. 20 against Golden State, Nov. 25 against Atlanta, Dec. 11 against Milwaukee, March 13 against Boston and April 2 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The jerseys are available on pre-order on the Rockets’ website at a cost of $120.
To coincide with the uniforms’ debut on Nov. 18, the Rockets announced this week they are retiring Hayes’ No. 44 jersey during halftime of that game. The 6-foot-9 post player was the Rockets’ No. 1 overall draft pick out of the University of Houston in 1968 and was the NBA scoring leader as a rookie, a 12-time All-Star, two-time league rebounding leader, a league champion with Washington in 1978 and a hall of fame inductee in 1990.
Hayes started and ended his 16-year professional career with the Rockets, averaging 20.6 points and 12.2 rebounds in a total of 572 games over seven seasons with the franchise.