As a fan of the Houston Rockets, I feel like a dog waiting on its owner to return with the Carmelo Anthony news. Weeks have passed (or months in dog years) since Anthony’s name was linked to Houston being his preferred destination. Only, the Knicks have yet to budge and fulfill his wishes. Why? Because the Knicks don’t want anybody or anything to be happy. No one has managed to become misers and masters of misery more than Knicks fans. Forty-five years of living such a life is bound to kill someone. Hence why Knicks fans hold the blackest of hearts in the NBA.
In order to let my mind think happier thoughts for the Rockets, I ventured into a far happier place. One where the ownership situation involving Les Alexander, the Rockets and potential buyer(s) for the team turns to one particular person in the room and asks that person for key decisions. Because Houston doesn’t truly do celebrity sports ownership and the owners in turn become minor local celebrities in their own right, Beyoncé having her name attached to the Rockets would immediately vault her past Bob McNair, Les Alexander, Jim Crane and even Oscar De La Hoya as the city’s most visible owner.
Again, this would not be a strange occurrence, or even make a kind of history for Beyoncé aside from her being the first African-American woman to own a minority stake in an NBA franchise. A stranger occurrence would be Drayton McLane apologizing to Astros fans for liquidating the team down to absolutely nothing in order to facilitate a sale. An even stranger occurrence would be the ghost of Bud Adams rising from whatever grave that allows you to be buried with both of your middle fingers extended and apologizing to the city once realizing that a taxpayer-funded stadium is among the biggest crocks in all of sports, especially in the NFL. So no, there are more implausible scenarios than Beyoncé owning a share of the Rockets.
We know most ownership groups usually have someone who oversees day-to-day operation of the team. We also know that Beyoncé is probably the most hands-on musician in the world, as she’s created her entire essence from pop diva to international mononym in the blink of an eye. How powerful is Beyoncé? Say, if a hurricane is somehow found in the middle of the ocean and a tornado in the center of that hurricane, right? And that tornado also contained a force that upheld Pandora’s Box? And inside the box there was a large collection of bees and this glow that somehow could piss off people and make people deliver the biggest, most fawning statements known to man? That is how people feel about Beyoncé and how powerful she’s made herself.
The Rockets need that sort of ridiculous energy around the franchise right now. This is an exercise to determine what should happen if Beyoncé bought a stake in the Rockets. This is not to say it shouldn’t happen (hint: It absolutely should), but it is also a glimpse into how we could remake the Rockets in the image of Houston and the Queen. Because who exactly says no?
Currently: The NBA and the Rockets keep it pretty close to the vest. Forty-one home games usually yields the occasional musical group, dance troupe, performance artists, dog that jumps through hoops and man who decides to stack chairs because his day job at Ikea couldn’t respect his vision. Nobody stays, because that's the time to re-up on overpriced snacks and $9 hot dogs you know damn well you should only be paying $3.50 for.
What Would Beyoncé Do? The aerialists would stay and even the chair man, because the chair man needs better in his life than Gary from HR telling him that stacking chairs in public is a terrible use of his talents. Turbo would make a comeback and battle Clutch to determine who exactly is the Rockets' tried and true mascot. Or they would split time as the mascot to appease two generations of Rockets fans. Michelle Williams would pop in occasionally to give everybody the hope that a Destiny’s Child reunion would happen, only for fans to realize that a Michelle Williams solo set is not all that bad. We would gauge fan interest on what set design from The Mrs. Carter World Tour or Formation would be used for “two songs and two songs only” performances. Not from Beyoncé, oh no. From any person attempting to be Beyoncé for a night. The kind of fan interaction you cannot buy. There’s a reason why we cannot have Beyoncé actually perform at Rockets games — because all it would be is, “Oh look, Beyoncé was gracious enough to let a basketball game happen after one of her shows.”
Currently: The Rockets and GM Daryl Morey are similar to Goldie from The Mack. They make deals, they work behind the scenes and, if push comes to shove, then they’ll get into a little gangsta shit. Problem is, Morey, for all his greatness, manages to get guys he wanted three years after he originally wanted them. Remember three years ago when he swung and missed on Chris Bosh during the summer of 2014 and attempted to court Melo, only for Melo to choose loyalty (and a bad relationship) over no-state-tax prosperity. Morey will attempt to fit any number of pieces into an algorithm in hopes that it ultimately sticks while also sticking to Les’s rare public mandate that the team absolutely cannot bottom out in order to rebuild, a fascinating ploy considering that great drafting after being perpetually terrible is how we wound up with the Warriors' super-team. But we need a secret weapon that Hakeem, Clyde and even James Harden cannot be.
WWBD? Get LeBron. In regards to her love of sports, there is no single athlete whose games Beyoncé has watched more of than LeBron Raymone James. All-Star Games, NBA Finals games, random games in New York or Los Angeles. And LeBron only plays at his absolute, jaw-dropping, NFL-tight-end-playing-small-forward best when Beyoncé is either in the building or nearby. Beyoncé probably won't call for dumping Mike D'Antoni or anything in regards to a high-stakes coaching switch. Rather, it all boils down to getting the world's best player until he isn't anymore in the city and keeping him. Morey is a masterful negotiator, but the biggest get of his tenure as GM? Chris Paul in 2017. Before that it was Dwight Howard when Dwight’s back was still good and his game hadn’t gone the way of cavemen, giant phones and Trapper Keepers. Beyoncé is the biggest LeBron bait that exists beyond the Banana Boat Crew. You get Carmelo, you get LeBron and, for at least one year, this photo becomes reality and the Rockets get to embrace the term “most hated” outside the city and “most anticipated” within the city. And Houston would never have to complain again about being left out of the national-media conversation.
Currently: If there were a ranking for worst jersey to home court ratio, the Rockets would win this in a landslide. Once upon a time, we wore cartoon pajamas to go play basketball in. And played on a court that immediately screamed childish design to maintain all of the space themes that we employ. The off-polish court design has no solid color, which makes it a wet dream for Bob Vila. But that logo. And those jerseys. When Tad Brown sent out a press memo that he was going to make an announcement last month, many hoped, begged and pleaded that it would be a jersey update. Nike took over the reins from Adidas this offseason and while the jerseys are a bit sleeker, that silly AAU jersey look still exists. If only they had listened to one particular NBA fan who designed some of the best jerseys on his free time.
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WWBD? Mustard and red would be back in style. The only two major professional sports titles this city won came in said colors, and with a simplistic font across the chest to boot. We get it that we’re Space City, but having one of the NBA’s blandest jerseys isn’t fun. When they finally went with a black alternate jersey in 2016-17 after teasing it, it became an instantaneous hit with fans because the shoulder panels underneath were gone and the Rockets were simple a Houston team that could stroll into a building, kick your ass and leave. The worst can be done is leaving that thing as is and knowing Beyoncé, if we can’t pay homage to the Houston Oilers via the Texans then dammit, the Rockets should. Maybe the Rockets should be the bridge between the other two major sports franchises in town and get jersey inspirations from them. Beyoncé loves retro things; why else would you shoot a video at FunPlex?
The most likely of these things would be the uniform redesign followed by the halftime entertainment. The least likely of these things is LeBron because God hasn’t been that kind to the Rockets since John Stockton decided to hang a three on Charles Barkley’s eye because he couldn’t close out soon enough.
Yes, Beyoncé owning a piece of the Rockets would be a good thing.