Former Houston Rockets owner Charlie Thomas dies at 89

Hakeem Olajuwon holds up his new jersey after being selected by the Houston Rockets in the NBA draft in New York, June 19, 1984. Rockets owner Charlie Thomas looks up at right. Olajuwon was the first person selected in the draft.
Hakeem Olajuwon holds up his new jersey after being selected by the Houston Rockets in the NBA draft in New York, June 19, 1984. Rockets owner Charlie Thomas looks up at right. Olajuwon was the first person selected in the draft. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)

HOUSTON – Charlie Thomas, the former owner of the Houston Rockets, died Friday. He was 89.

Thomas bought Houston’s NBA team in 1982 for about $10 million and sold it in 1993 for about $85 million.

Current Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said in a statement posted on Twitter that the team is deeply saddened by Thomas’ passing.

“Charlie was a great friend, business partner, and true Texan who loved his Rockets,” Fertitta said in the statement. “He helped set the foundation of our franchise that brought two championships to the City of Houston.”

Thomas also owned a car dealership group and operated more than 40 dealerships across the country. He was also an avid automobile collector. In 2012, he put 175 vehicles from his personal collection up for auction.

“I will miss my friend very much,” Fertitta said. “Our thoughts go out to his loving family during this difficult time.”

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.


About the Author:

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.