Delayed reaction on the Houston Rockets’ new alternate uniforms and a rant in general

Cliffs: They killed it on the black, but I’m not sure what they were thinking on the other two.

The ketchup and mustard works, conceptually, especially with the classic ‘Clutch City’ theme, but the obtrusive sleeves kill off any good will the design would have gotten from me.  I mean, really.  Why sleeves?  Why overcomplicate a good thing?  At the end of the day, people just want–have been clamoring for–the f****** old school gold and red threads.  How hard is this to screw up?  As far as the monstrosity that is the grey alternate, really the only saving grace is that it doesn’t feature a flying dildo with teeth.

The black is fresh.  I didn’t even know I liked black unis until I saw those.  So kudos.

Zach Lowe wrote just last week that the team actually ditched the iconic gold and red because, in 1993, owner Leslie Alexander thought the look had become “synonymous with losing.”  After the team won the title, it was already too late to renege on the change as the league sent the team a fat bill for merchandising.  And thus, we were treated to one of the most visually ridiculous eras in modern sports history.

I don’t quite recall what I thought as a kid when Clyde Drexler first unveiled the pajama stripes at some sort of televised viewing party.  (Does it really even matter what my then 11-year-old self thought?)  I imagine I reacted positively, as one might at that age to anything.  As the years passed, however, I grew to despite them, my overall sensibilities having matured.  (It helped that the team was abysmal by this point).

I’ve written a lot on my thoughts on the Rockets uniforms, so I don’t want to beat a dead horse.  I don’t like the current ones.  With their obvious resemblance to the Chinese National Team’s, they’re a relic of a bygone era, and something of a slap in the face to loyalists of this town and team.  As I wrote back in 2010, “the storied franchises in our league maintain their original looks in reverence of tradition.  Change for the mere sake of reeks of vagrant insecurity and a lack of resolve in the timelessness of one’s own brand.  As one of just a handful of teams to have won a title in the last two decades, this franchise has tradition.  For it’s management’s innovative strategies, this is one of the most well-respected organizations in this sport.  It’s time the look reflected those realities.  It’s time to restore pride in a classic image.  It’s time to bring back the gold.

I don’t know what it will take or what arcane copyright/trademark provision is the holdup.  All I know is, most everyone I know who supports this team agrees it’s obvious this needs to happen.


About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of

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