June 13, 2004
Clutch City, ten years after

The Chron has a nice lookback on the Houston Rockets championship team of 1994 as the ten-year anniversary of that title approaches, along with sidebar stories on the opponents they overcame and the bizarre OJ Simpson white Bronco interlude which interrupted Game 5 of the finals. Read and reminisce.

Two personal memories: I watched Game 2 of the quarterfinals against Phoenix at a packed sports bar (Griff's, as I recall). That was the infamous game in which the Rockets, already down 1-0 and playing for a split at home, coughed up a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost in overtime. The screaming headline in the Chron the next morning was "Choke City", from which the eventual "Clutch City" moniker came. I was at Griff's because back in those days, early home playoff games were pay-per-view only. I didn't even have cable at that time, so it was that or radio. I wish I could have filmed the crowd and its collective reactions over the period where the Suns made their comeback. Visions of too many spectacular Astro and Oiler flameouts were haunting us as we watched the disaster unfold on the screen. You could have made a boatload of money right there betting people as they departed that the Rockets were about to be swept. They'd have been thrilled to pay you later on when proven wrong.

The entire city reveled in the championship. I was working downtown at the time, in a building that overlooked the parade that was thrown, and for about a two-week stretch, every third person you saw was wearing some kind of Rockets shirt. Casual Friday meant nothing - nobody blinked at guys wearing Clutch City T-shirts and wingtips. Every other vehicle on the highway had a victory slogan soaped into the windows or a Clutch City sign taped up somewhere. It was the longest citywide hangover you've ever seen, and no one wanted it to end.

Those were good times. May they happen again soon.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 13, 2004 to Other sports | TrackBack

Two reasons for the Rockets victory:

1) Jordan retired.

2) A group of locals put their resources together, got some civic-minded hookers and strippers on board, and targeted Starks along with a few other Knicks players.

Posted by: Laurence Simon on June 13, 2004 1:14 PM


There's a third reason why the Rockets won:

3. The Rangers had already won the Stanley Cup, and the powers that be decided that New York didn't deserve two champions in the same month. ;-)

(P.S. - I hate the Knicks!)

Posted by: William Hughes on June 13, 2004 4:39 PM

Houston won an NBA Championship?!? Get out!! I must have been under a rock in Germany back then.

I do remember that while I was a UN flunky in Zagreb, Croatia, OJ's trial was on 2 different channels...which sucked because they pre-empted old late night episodes of Black Adder.

Posted by: Patrick on June 15, 2004 12:54 PM

yes, those were the good ole days

Posted by: kanch on December 1, 2005 4:16 PM

Houston's championship was the best thing that ever happened to anybody.

Posted by: The Dream is Alive on December 16, 2005 1:51 AM