HOUSTON – The Saunders family has been Rockets’ season ticket holders for more than 40 years.
“The whole atmosphere is what’s inviting about being at the game. It’s incredible, the camaraderie, you make friends,” said Mike Saunders.
His family is optimistic the team can still win the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
“It’s really fun to watch them. So I’ve enjoyed this a lot. It’s been a great year,” said Saunders.
That’s coming from someone who knows the Rockets well. Saunders and his wife Pat have had season tickets since 1977.
“I became interested in the Rockets really early because I just love watching basketball,” he said.
From the Summit, to the Compaq Center and the Toyota Center, Saunders has been with the team through it all.
His favorite time was the back-to-back championships back in '94 and '95.
“It was just like having a party from start to finish. Best time in Houston sports in my opinion. I loved it,” he said.
Saunders also loved seeing a talented young player turn into a basketball legend.
“I still think Hakeem Olajuwon is the greatest player who ever played,” said Saunders.
Saunders and his son even met Hakeem during a practice.
“We have that picture of Hakeem Olajuwon in uniform holding my son on the floor of the Compaq Center.”
The current season has quickly become just as exciting.
Despite a loss in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, Saunders believes we could see history again.
“It’ll be like coming full circle and right back where it should be. Bring the championship back to Houston,” he said.
Saunders and his wife have sat in three different locations in the Toyota Center. They sit where they have a great view of the big screen.
“If you love the game, and can afford to do it, I managed some way to afford it,” Saunders said.