Hakeem. And Jeff. And Craig.
added 3/14/2001 by Steve Cutchen
So we've seen Hakeem Olajuwon for the last time in a Rocket's uniform.
It hasn't really sunk in yet. That it is really over. Was this guy great, or what? Bringing the first major championship to Houston. And then coming from a 6th seed to repeat. Who can forget the way he made the Admiral look just plain silly in the playoffs? David said, shaking his head, "I know this sounds stupid, but I think I played pretty good defense on him." Then dominating Shaq in the finals.
This guy was a rock. We rode him game after game, year after year.
"Kenny has the ball out front. 15 seconds, Rockets down by one. Left side to Ellie, open for the jumper, no.
And now, that's gone.
If that doesn't put a lump in your throat...
When a special athlete finally quits, especially a home-town hero, it is sad. Sure we miss Drexler. And Smith. And Barkley... Whatever. Hey, Chuckie Brown played his butt off for us. And he's got a ring, too! But these guys were not the Team. Hakeem was. Hakeem was the Rockets like Jordan was the Bulls.
It got me to thinking about Bagwell and Biggio. For so many years, we have thought of the Astros and Bagwellandbiggio as synonymous. It really seems like a single word... Bagwellandbiggio. But times are not that far off when the Astros will be without the Dynamic Duo.
When I hear the supposed criticism that the veterans had toward Meluskey (and you know veterans meant Bagwellandbiggio), I wonder how much of it was due to Mitch being a jerk versus how much of it was a recognition that a window is closing. How many more years do we have for Bagwellandbiggio before the inevitable decline sets in? Ausmus is now. Mitch wasn't.
Really watch these guys this year, Houston Fan. Pay attention to the little things you see them do on the field. Burn these images into your memory so that you can tell folks.
"Yeah, I was there when Bagwell and Biggio were in their prime. Man, those guys were great.
The Rockets will now finish the transition to the Steve Francis era. And eventually they will establish an identity. Like the Moses Malone Rockets did. And the Hakeem Olajuwon Rockets.
The Astros will transition, too. Maybe it will become the team of Berkman and Hidalgo. Or Ginter and McNeal. Or two guys we don't even know yet. It's too early to tell. And you just never know what's going to happen in this game. Ask Dwight Gooden. Ask Dickie Thon.
But for now? It is the team of Bagwellandbiggio.
Don't let these guys down.
That's my Knuckleball. Try to hit it.