The Houston Rockets have officially given their much-deserved flowers to the Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes.
On Friday at halftime of their match against the Indiana Pacers, the Rockets raised Hayes’ jersey no. 44 up in the rafters of the Toyota Center.
Hayes thanked the whole Houston and the Rockets organization for honoring him and retiring his number.
“It’s an honor for me to be presented with something I never thought I would receive,” Hayes said. “I have received many honors in the game of basketball. But this one is great because it’s in Houston.”
The Rockets have also debuted their San Diego hardwood classic jerseys to pay homage to their roots in San Diego.
Hayes becomes the seventh player to have his jersey retired by the Rockets, joining the legendary slate of Hakeem Olajuwon, Rudy Tomjanovich, Clyde Drexler, Yao Ming, Moses Malone, and Calvin Murphy.
Chosen by the then-San Diego Rockets for the first overall pick of the 1968 Draft, Hayes powered the franchise for four years with his scoring and rebounding prowess. In his rookie year, he went on to lead the NBA in scoring with 28.4 points per game, while tallying 17.1 rebounds.