The stars were out in downtown Houston Thursday night, and a spectacular evening built around the first public appearance of Houston three 34's — Hakeem Olajuwon, Earl Campbell, and Nolan Ryan — in the same place publicly for the first time ever finished with a bang with the announcement that an actual Houston Sports Hall of Fame would be constructed in downtown Houston over the next couple years.
The Hall of Fame will be constructed in the Greenstreet area of downtown, with a "walk of fame" weaving throughout the area near the House of Blues, finishing in 3,500 feet of actual physical space that will house the Hall. In conjunction with the unveiling of the Hall of Fame, it was also announced, not surprisingly given how tightly the evening was constructed around all three, that Olajuwon, Ryan, and Campbell would comprise the initial class for the Houston Sports Hall of Fame.
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As for the evening itself, the Houston Sports Authority, led by Patti Smith, did a fantastic job of constructing an evening with a "big event" feel, like Houston's own local version of the ESPY's. The stars in attendance, in addition to the three 34's, included a contingency from the Texans (Bill O'Brien, Brian Gaine), a contingency from the Astros (A.J. Hinch, Jeff Luhnow, Jose Altuve, George Springer, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens), a contingency from the Rockets (Mike D'Antoni, Tad Brown, numerous former teammates of Olajuwon), and athletes with Houston ties like George Foreman.
The awards themselves were understandably dominated by the Astros, who brought the city its first MLB, NFL or NBA championship since the Rockets' Clutch City teams of the mid 90's. Here are the 2018 Houston Sports Award winners:
* Athlete of the Year: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
* College Athlete of the Year: Ed Oliver, Houston Cougars
* High School Athlete of the Year: Grant Gunnell, St. Pius X
* Coach of the Year: A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros
* Moment of the Year: Alex Bregman, Houston Astros (Game 5
* Fan of the Year: Carson Riley (caught Carlos Correa HR in ALCS)
* Executive of the Year: Jeff Luhnow, Houston Astros
* Lifetime Achievement Award: Leslie Alexander, Houston Rockets
* Sportsmanship Award: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
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