BIRMINGHAM, U.K — The Houston Rockets were put up for sale in July by long-time owner Leslie Alexander, and one former player said he’d be interested in joining a future ownership group.
“I’m buying it,” Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon joked Tuesday, before getting more serious about the matter.
“Many groups now have called me and want me involved,” Olajuwon, now a Rockets team ambassador, said. “With two of the groups, I’m doing my background check to see if that is a possibility. Just an association would be great.
“I’m still with the organization now. I have a contract with the Rockets, not to be in an ownership position. But if the opportunity opens itself, it will be something great.”
With Olajuwon, the Rockets won back-to-back titles. Both of those championships came after Alexander purchased the franchise in 1993.
While the Rockets haven’t been back to the Finals since those mid-1990s teams, a squad that features MVP runner-up James Harden, Coach of the Year Mike D’Antoni and newly acquired point guard Chris Paul has raised interest and expectations in Houston.
The Rockets are so hot right now that Houston native and Grammy winning superstar Beyonce has interest in being part of a future ownership group as well, according to a Bloomberg report.
“I think they were a championship team last year,” said Olajuwon, who now lives in the United Kingdom where his children are in school and he is involved with a basketball club in the city of Birmingham. “That series we lost against San Antonio, I think we could have given Golden State a better series than San Antonio did.
“I believe that I’ve never played one season thinking we cannot win a championship. It’s open in the playoffs — I believe if this team plays with confidence and plays their game, they have a chance.
“I’ve always believed that if you have a legitimate team like Houston, with one of the best records in the league, they are a championship team. But of course, the West is so strong that you have to go against Golden State or San Antonio. But I think they can beat San Antonio.”