June 27, 2002
Rockets end the suspense, pick Yao

And right now everyone's happy about this pick, including his new teammates and the ever feckless Chron sports columnists.

Not that anyone outside of Houston noticed, but the Rockets also appear to have gotten a steal with their other first round draft choice, Slovenian player Bostjan Nachbar. Nachbar, who could fill a largish hole at small forward, is happy to be here:

For weeks, the Rockets had targeted Bostjan Nachbar with their second first-round pick. Then Nachbar put on a show that left the Rockets concerned only that he would be gone before they were up with the 15th pick.

But as impressive as Nachbar's performance was to the Rockets, he was more sold on the Rockets.

He checked flight schedules from Houston to his home in Slovenia. He imagined himself filling a wing with Yao Ming sending an outlet pass and Steve Francis handling the ball on a break. He penned a letter to general manager Carroll Dawson and coach Rudy Tomjanovich to thank them for considering him, the first letter of its type they had ever received and the only one he sent.


"After one day in Houston, I fell in love with Houston," Nachbar said in a phone interview from New York, where he attended the draft. "I love the team, the personnel. Everyone was great to me. I had four workouts (in Charlotte, Indiana, Houston and Washington). Houston was something special. From the beginning, I knew this is where I wanted to be."

Take that, Randall Patterson!

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 27, 2002 to Other sports