I stumbled across this series of videos of Houston sending off the Rockets to their second round match-up with the Lakers. Maybe all cities do this, but if so I haven't seen it. The video above shows Yao Ming telling Carl Landry to give his shirt to the crowd, a bobbing Darth Wafer head, and the almost hypnotic sing-songing of Yao's name by the assembled fans. (Can anyone name the tune they're singing to? It'd be too perfect if it were the Chinese national anthem...) Seeing this, it just struck me that the Rockets have been doing things right for awhile now. Just a classy, heady organization. You just don't hear any quibbles from any of the actions they take. Rick Adelman took over after Van Gundy's firing almost seamlessly. Ron Artest has fit in surprisingly well. Daryl Morey and Shane Battier are groundbreaking, NY Times article worthy. Even the Ewing Theory on McGrady comes from outside the team, and gave Ron-Ron the opporunity to show how subtly he can deflect scandal now.
What a pleasant, mellifluous amalgamation of a team. Okay, this series of videos shows that their mascot is a little creepy. He's a big, red teddy bear that here shoots rockets from over his head. And Artest is perpetually cooky, here apparently crashing the send-off in the midst of a job, and discussing the distinction between shorts and boxers (shorts have pockets). But you don't see crazy half-time accidents with the Rockets as has happened in New Orleans. And you don't get game clock miscues as in Atlanta. I don't think the Rockets have quite enough firepower to upset the Lakers; still, it's nice to have an excited, faithful fan base. It's nice to show appreciation for them this way. Everyone loves free shirts. And it's much more practical than KG hand-placing shirts in the Garden.