The Houston Rockets became the latest team to unveil their “Classic” (throwback) uniform for the upcoming NBA season, and they’re throwing way back, all the way to the franchise’s original uniform, back when they played in San Diego.
According to NBA.com:
In a nod to the franchise’s beginning in San Diego, the Houston Rockets are going with a green and gold color scheme for their 2022-23 Hardwood Classic edition uniforms. The Rockets began as an expansion team in San Diego in the 1967-68 season and played there until 1971, when the team moved on to Houston and, soon thereafter, adopted its familiar red-based color scheme.
The team is “paying homage to San Diego-era stars like Hall of Famers Elvin Hayes, Calvin Murphy and others provided some of the inspiration to return to the classic look.”
Here’s a look at some still photos of the new uni (unfortunately I couldn’t find any that show the back of the uniform):
The team is going with their home white look, which is fantastic, but their road green uniforms from back then were equally impressive.
As you can see, the jersey and shorts are white, with green and gold as the team’s color scheme. “ROCKETS” is vertically arched across the chest, rendered in gold, with a green blockshadow extending upward and to the right. Numbers are a block font, also in gold, with the same green blockshadow. Sleeve stripes and neck have two thick green stripes on the outside, with thinner white stripes in the middle, with a solid gold center stripe. The pants have an interesting pattern, going a solid gold horizontal stripe at the waistband, with a thin white stripe, large green stripe, thin white stripe and thick gold stripe extending below the waist. This was, of course, the same pattern as on the team’s original uniforms.
Here are some closeups of the details:
No unveiling would be complete without the hype video, which does give a us a brief glimpse at the rear of the jersey:
History propels us forward. pic.twitter.com/IiheLJKemO
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) August 31, 2022
As you can see, the rear of the jersey features Nike’s truncated stripe treatment. NOB is in radially arched gold, with green blockshadow, and the number has the same treatment as the front.
The Rockets began play in 1967. You can read a bit about their early history here.
And here are some looks at the original uniform (note that the striping pattern on the neck and arms is slightly different from the throwbacks):
The player in that last photo, of course, is Elvin Hayes, who is a Uni Watch favorite, as he simply sported an “E” as NOB of his Rockets jersey!
Notable Moments in NOB History: Future Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes, "the Big E," had a variety of interesting NOB styles during the first few years of his career, from 1968-73. pic.twitter.com/n2ch3dnttp
— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) February 21, 2018
I absolutely LOVE these uniforms — with the exception of the stripe treatment on the pants (but that was more a function of its time, rather than a design flaw, per se) — and am pleased the team will be breaking them out again this season.
Finally, the team produced a second hype video, narrated by Tobe Nwigwe, which has a few additional shots of the new uniform (including another rear view), plus some photos and video of the Rockets in their original uniforms from 1967-71 (including the green one!).
Our Hardwood Classic uniforms represent the beginning of a journey to greatness.
🎙 @TobeNwigwe pic.twitter.com/VoOXlCQURQ
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) August 31, 2022
You can see additional photos of the San Diego Rockets here.
Can’t wait to see these in action!
We need more green & gold in the uni-verse
Hopefully some common sense karma will allow Seattle to get back into the NBA soon.
As a Vikings I’d just like to say, no, we don’t.
Woof! The block-shadowing on that numeral hurts my feelings.
Not a huge fan of the crotch stripes but I understand honoring the legacy. Overall, a nice set.
The Rockets never actually wore those shorts in a regular-season game. They were used for all the promo pictures (such as the image of Don Kojis above) and were worn during preseason but by the time the regular season started they had new shorts with side panels.
The Supersonics (who also joined the league that year) had the same striping on their shorts – maybe the Rockets changed because the league didn’t want 2 new teams with the same colours and nearly identical uniforms. Either way, it’s interesting that the Rockets have brought the design back.
Thank you so much for clearing that up. Information like yours is very hard to come by. Were the 1967-68 regular season home jerseys the ones with just 2 stripes around the neck and armholes?
They gotta invite Stu Lantz to some of these games. I know he’s a Lakers commentator now, but he was drafted by and played for the Rockets. Wonder what he thinks of these threads.
Not necessarily uni-related, but related…. have to wonder if the Rockets ever played any home games in the LA Forum? In the Getty images page you linked to, there’s a photo of the Rockets in green and the Lakers in yellow (gold, whatever) here: link
and another one with the Rockets in white and the Sonics in green, here: link
It’s pretty apparent that – no matter what the caption says – that both photos were taken in the same place; the seating, the ceiling, the yellow paint in the lane. All of that are hallmarks of the Forum, and the game against the Lakers says so. The pattern of the upper bowl – limited rows in the corners, more on the ends, and even more rows on the sidelines – all fit the pattern of a rectangular bowl inside circular walls. SDSA, on the other hand, has the traditional shape of a North American arena, a rectangular exterior that permits an equal number of rows in the upper bowl from all angles.
If the date in the caption of that Rockets-Sonics game is correct (a big “if”), then it appears to have been a preseason game. Wikipedia (link) shows the San Diego Rockets’ first regular season in 1968-69 as taking place on October 17, 1968. The 5th game was a road game against the Lakers on October 27, matching the caption of the Lakers-Rockets photo.
Pre-season games appear to be documented much less thoroughly than regular season contests – but I’d imagine a neutral-site exhibition game isn’t out of the question.
It’s possible that Rockets-Sonics was the first game of an exhibition doubleheader at the Forum. As you say, it’s hard to find 1968 preseason information.
Nice and accurate that there is no team logo on the shorts, but it would not have hurt, even a small one (the SD-Houston logo shown above and in the video) on the waistband. I always want a team logo on the shorts somewhere.