Daryl Morey, longtime general manager of the Houston Rockets, announced on Thursday that he’s stepping down from his position and leaving the team. But he couldn’t leave without saying thank you to the Rockets organization and all the fans who have stood by the team.
How better to do that than in a full-page newspaper ad?
Dear Rockets fans,
Thank you for an amazing 14 years. Your love, support and energy has meant the world to me.
My family and I came to Houston as yankees, nervous about how the city would welcome us and honored that Leslie Alexander had trusted me to run a legendary franchise. I came into an organization with Hall of Fame players Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady already in place and a championship legacy built by Houston legends like Hakeem Olajuwan and Clyde Drexler. Walking into work on the first day was exciting, daunting, and inspiring.
Soon enough, the nervousness washed away and we came to feel like adopted Texans. What followed was the most amazing 14 years of my life.
Morey went on to thank many of the fellow Rockets executives and coaches he’d worked with over the years, including a number of people who have gone on to become GMs or executives on other teams. Then he thanked owner Tilman Fertitta and his family for their support and trust before recalling some of his favorite memories as GM.
Thank you for the memories. I have so many. As a rookie GM we started the season 15-17 and my nerves returned. We then went on a magical 22-game winning streak. The image of Rafer Alston going full Skip-2-My-Lou dribbling out the clock in front of Sasha Vujačić for win #22 will be etched forever in my memory. By 2009 we were able to add some of my all-time favorite players, such as Ron Artest, Shane Battier, Aaron Brooks, Chuck Hayes, Carl Landry, Kyle Lowry, Dikembe Mutombo, and Luis Scola, to the core of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. I can’t think of a better group of players and teammates. That team was unfortunately derailed by injuries. We remained a fun, hard-working group afterwards, but it did teach us what life was like without a superstar in the NBA. And then…
Morey couldn’t end his letter without talking about James Harden, the superstar that Morey and the Rockets needed. Morey said he could have dedicated an entire page to Harden, but he kept it to just one paragraph.
James Harden changed my life.
An entire page could be dedicated just to James. He not only transformed my life but he also revolutionized the game of basketball — and continues to do so — like almost no one has before. The game is played differently because of James, and on every playground in the world, the next generation of talent is studying and imitating his game. I can’t believe I won’t be able to have another strategy session with James. I loved working together on how to get his incredible Hall of Fame teammates Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook to the Rockets. I will be rooting for James to win a championship with Houston. It’s how this story should end.
Finally, I want to say thank you again to the city of Houston and to all Rockets fans. Your support has kept me energized and inspired. You have been the driving force to our success. I am honored to have been a part of your story.
Morey and Harden weren’t able to win a championship together, and that will probably weigh on Morey’s mind for at least a few years (if not longer). But as he said in his farewell letter, his time with the Rockets was much more than just a quest for a championship.
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