For three seasons now, since Yao Ming's feet and Tracy McGrady's knees ceased cooperating, the Houston Rockets have been searching for what General Manager Daryl Morey likes to call a "foundation player." After many swings and many misses, Morey finally landed his man in late October 2012, pilfering Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder for what now appears to have been the laughable price of Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and Toronto's 2013 first-round pick (the 12th pick overall). For that paltry sum, what Morey and the Rockets got in return was one of the top three shooting guards in all of basketball, an All-Star, 25.9 points per game, lots of kick-ass beard promotions at Toyota Center, and the single most important reason that Houston is once again a destination spot for other marquee players to come try and win a title. Fear the Beard!

Unlike some of those other parks, there won't be flocks of runners at T.C. Jester Park scampering by for you and your dog to avoid. If your dog is the type that sees another one and immediately starts barking at the enemy canine and trying to pick a fight, you've got enough space on the path to pull her well away from the Great Dane she's trying to goad into a brawl. The trail is long enough to give even the most energetic walker a lengthy promenade, but you can always make a stop at the gated dog park if you get all worn out while your pet still has energy to burn.

There are plenty of college football coaches who talk about molding their student-athletes into great men but few who put into practice an example to strive for quite like Rice head football coach David Bailiff. Each fall since coming to Rice, Bailiff has had his players donate their time, as he himself does, to worthy causes like the Sunshine Kids, Big Brothers events, local soup kitchens and, of course, the annual Challenger League Game at Rice Stadium. Active in many charitable endeavors for our troops, Bailiff accepted a 2009 invitation to visit military personnel stationed in Afghanistan and again honored our troops in 2011 by participating as a driver in the "Crossing of America" tour. The Owls also are regular participants in efforts to send care packages to members of the armed forces deployed overseas. Bailiff was honored by the Conference USA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee with its 2012 Coaches Choice Award, which recognizes a coach who is committed to fostering student-athlete development and welfare through a positive athletic and academic atmosphere.In 2013, he was one of four recipients of the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association's John Kelley Distinguished Service Award. After a bowl win and a strong close to the 2013 season, Bailiff received a three-year contract extension through 2016, which is great news for the city of Houston.

Best Of Houston®

Best Of