The Greatest Rockets Fan of All Time

Basketball is a sport where some of the audience sits just feet from the game. Some of its fans become part of the backdrop. Great plays and great moments include fans that are courtside. Television also offers high profile fans the opportunity to become visible cheerleaders to both the players and the general audience. For some teams, their greatest fans have become fixtures through their high profiles, high visibility in their courtside seats and commitment to the team through their regular attendance.

The Lakers have Jack Nicholson. The Knicks have Spike Lee. The Rockets have Rusty Hardin.

Rusty Hardin has been a courtside fixture at Rocket home games for about twenty years.  He is a legendary local trial lawyer, nationally known for representing famous clients such as Arthur Andersen, Roger Clemens, and J. Howard Marshall II (versus Anna Nicole Smith). He can usually be identified by his light colored suits. Unlike many of the high rollers down in the rich seats, he is a demonstrative fan, pensive when the games are tight and exuberant after big shots. Rusty’s successful efforts as a lawyer can probably be directly translated into wins for the Rockets. Below is his resume as the Greatest Rockets Fan of All Time:

  • Rudy Tomjanovich, August 1994, DWI charge dropped (If Rudy goes down it could have interfered with the 1995 season training camp.)
  • Scottie Pippen, May 1999, DWI charge dropped for lack of evidence (didn’t hurt his trade value)
  • Steve Francis, June 2002, judge found not guilty for DWI charge
  • Eddie Griffin, 2004, deadly conduct
  • Calvin Murphy, December 2004, acquitted of charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child
  • Rafer Alston, October 2008, acquitted of DWI charge (starting point guard for the 2008 season)

Thanks for reading ya’ll. I’m shutting the column down for the next month as I go underground to prepare for the bar exam. The merciless folks on the state bar have scheduled the bar exam for the three days leading up to the trade deadline.

Shawn Grady discusses various NBA-related legal issues as Red94′s legal analyst.

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He’s catching a bad rap in the media for some of the Clemens antics but at least Hardin’s made that fiasco entertaining. I lucked into a pair of tickets near the court a couple of years ago when the Hornets were in town and figured what the hell, I’ll introduce myself. I was in law school at the time, told him and he gave me about 15 seconds of uninterrupted advice. I thought it cool considering Rockets’ players stopped to shake his hand before and after I left. Can only hope to accrue his suit collection one day.


Good luck, Shawn!

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