I picked up this 2015-16 Panini Totally Certified Champions card of Hakeem Olajuwon from an eBay seller as part of a combined shipping deal. Sometimes if I notice a seller offers combined shipping or a discount for multiple purchases I will search their inventory for a few of my favorite players to see if anything comes up that I can add on to an order. In this case the order was mostly UFC cards, but I was also able to grab a recent card of my all-time favorite basketball player. This one is serially-numbered # 068 / 199, but more importantly, it talks about the two Championships Olajuwon won with Houston and the two Finals MVP awards he picked up in the process.
Unfortunately, the Houston Rockets haven't been back to the Finals since then. This past year was disappointing. The Rockets barely made the playoffs after a long year of ineffectiveness and infighting, and they were quickly dismissed in the first round by the Golden State Warriors. I don't really see a way forward for this team with James Harden and Dwight Howard as their main players, so maybe it's time to blow up the roster and look for a different answer. That kind of rebuild will probably result in several years of painfully bad records, but I don't know if that's any worse than the good-not-great team Houston is rolling out now. I guess it's disappointing not to see any progress from year to year.
With the Rockets bounced out of the playoffs early, I was hoping that the Spurs would have a strong run left in them, but they got ousted by the Thunder in a rather surprising turn of events, and then the Thunder went out and beat the Warriors on the road in Game 1 of their Western Conference Finals match-up. I don't really want any of the teams that are left to win the title so I guess I am rooting for the Raptors now, although they are currently down by 15 points to Cleveland in the 3rd quarter of their Game 1 meeting. I imagine that by the time this posts they will be down 0-1 in that series.
I don't see much good coming out of Houston basketball in the near future, but at least I can relive their glory days by reading the backs of my Olajuwon cards.