It’s another loss in another game for the Houston Rockets. Unfortunately, the Rockets never had a chance in their 101-89 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder like many other nights last two years. Turnovers, bad shooting, and puzzling rotations have been a theme all year.
Another common occurrence, especially on Social Media, has been droves of Rockets fans coming out day after day to discuss a team with an 18-69 record in the last year plus (shortened season last year). Again, it doesn’t matter what the topic is and what outside fan base or media personality it comes from, but negative or positive, you can bet Rockets Twitter will be involved if it is about the Rockets.
For almost a decade, Rockets fans fiercely defended James Harden when the entire basketball community outside of Houston was against him. It became a full-time job defending Harden, especially regarding his late-game performances and his ability to draw fouls. Even though most of us know some of the fouls he drew weren’t exactly “traditional fouls,” to put it nicely. Rockets fans still defended Harden like he was our first cousin.
The passionate defense of the Rockets goes back even before Twitter, or Social Media was a thing. It is part of growing up or just following Houston sports. For long as I remember, Houston has constantly been disrespected in the media since the days of the Houston Oilers. The Rockets during the two championship runs where to this day is still said to be more of a fluke because Jordan retired. The constant disrespect of the Harden-era Rockets, who were seen as outsiders because they didn’t “play the game the right way,” was mentioned before. I can’t go on without saying the Houston Astros, who, even before the scandal, were seen as a team that most outside of Houston didn’t want to win because they weren’t the Yankees, Dodgers, or Redsox.
As you see, Houston fandom does run deep, and Social Media has made it easier for Houston sports fans to come together. It was none more evident than during this past season during the Astros run where Apollo Media started a movement with H Town vs. Everyone that had fans and players uniting together behind that motto.
For instance, last night’s post-game Twitter Spaces hosted by @itzjustzeke @ProdiGNBA, @DonKnock, and @BraddeauxNBA drew almost 1,000 people on a Wednesday night after a loss to the Thunder. That shows the power of Rockets Twitter.
Some of us older fans remember the early blog sites like Clutch Fans and The Dream Shake, where fans would go back and forth in forums, but now it’s right out front for the entire world (at least a small part) to see. Quick side note I grew up a Rockets fan, been one my entire life, and was a Rockets fan long before I started writing. I try to be objective but let’s be honest, my Rockets fandom will always be front and center, but for this article, I wanted to get other Rockets fans’ opinions on why Rockets Twitter is such a force on Social Media.
Despite the Rockets being 18-69 the last two years why do you think their is so much passion on Rockets Twitter?
Don Knock: @DonKnock
I think people on Rockets Twitter had to really learn how to stick together during the Harden years because so many people didn’t like him or Morey or MDA and would go at the team so it built a high level of cohesion in the fanbase. You can see the Harden segment starting to splinter off but it feels like the real Rockets fans that are left are super tight knit.
Brit Robotista: @britrobotista
I think it’s a testament to the fans. Rockets fans have been maligned for years on NBA Twitter, getting criticized for the team not winning against NBA championships, a lot of the James Harden era, and the culture the Morey era had. However Rockets fans are passionate and many of them are keenly aware of the salary cap, and basketball in general. It’s a dedicated and diverse fanbase that’s is loud and willing to critique, the Rockets, but will run through the wall for them if the media or other NBA fandoms say something off base. That passion is incredible.
Anthony Duckett: @a_duckett
I think Rockets Twitter is unique, in part because fans of other teams like to hear the opinions that many within Rockets Twitter have. Like on many of the Twitter Spaces you’ll find fans of all types of teams who stay for 2 hours just to listen to the opinions that get shared. That’s not normal for a Spaces that’s entirely devoted to a post-game analysis of a game in which the Rockets lost by double figures. Also I think there isn’t one predominant school of thought as it pertains to Rockets Twitter. Very rarely do people agree on the same thing and those who don’t agree are able to give valid counter-arguments that are usually backed by stats and/or factual evidence. It’s not the elementary arguments of “that’s stupid, do you hear yourself.” There are many different angles and perspectives of how to analyze the Rockets and there’s usually a multitude of points that can be made and agreed upon, whether it’s your argument or not.
Also I think it helps that the front office has always maintained a presence on Twitter, whether it’s via loved ones, as in the case of Rafael Stone and his wife or Patrick Fertitta, who has responded to tweets before and certainly sees everything. Daryl Morey started that, because he used to be very active on Twitter and I think it’s sort of continued, whether directly or indirectly.
Hmm… great question! rockets Twitter is a quite frankly is a family. Like any family they’re usually filled with eclectic characters which is great! In this case we’re informative, passionate, and a hilarious group of people. However, I think we’re very misunderstood. The Harden era and now with the current rebuild demonstrates this. Everyday there’s always something new, it’s never boring over on this side of the fense for better or worse. We’re beautifully flawed and I love that and so does twitter.
I think the Rockets have some of the most passionate fans in the entire NBA. Call it a trait from being from Houston, call it a trait from being successful for so long, Rockets fans live and breathe basketball. The community is usually not rude to each other like some other fanbases and, when some of the main faces left, that community is what kept fans from leaving to other teams. I think its also really important that the Rockets managed to keep something or someone exciting for the fans to root for, be it Christian Wood, Stephen Silas, later Kevin Porter Jr, then the Draft Lottery drama, as long as you give the people something to root for it makes it easier to stick around. A lot of credit goes to Rafael Stone for that.
I’d say passion is not related to the standings (See Cowboys and Yankees fans). Also Houston is a large city so we have a larger pool of people to become rabid fans. And the Harden Era we won enough for the youngsters to become fans while having an MVP player represent the city nationally
I’d say: Rockets Twitter has been a force since the late Harden Era. We’ve come together through all of the negativity directed our way and have become a family on Twitter as a result of it. The fact of the matter is all NBA teams have a lot of fans, but they don’t have a Twitter family. Rockets Twitter has a bond with each other, and they’ll ride through thick and thin, which is what we saw last night in the Twitter Spaces.
Rockets Twitter “The Safe Space” post-game session has taken off in short time
I also ask a few of the people who recently started the post-game Rockets Twitter Space how it has taken off so fast in such a short period of time and did they expect such a large turnout.
Don Knock: @DonKnock
100%. We did a draft night Space with all the Apollo branding and push and we got ~230 listeners. I thought it may be months or years until we got to that level of engagement again, especially with the team being so bad. Having some relationships with some other big accounts definitely helped drive traffic to the Space, mostly Alykhan and Roosh, but those people still hung around and heard what people had to say and I think it’s very constructive for the fanbase to get that emotion out as long as it isn’t crossing the line.
I mean yeah, we did this kind of system for a while and had various results from 200 people on draft night to 30 people on a normal day to 70-100 people on a good day. Its really blown up last couple of sessions, its definitely been surprising and hopefully its something sustainable in some capacity, we love hearing everyones opinion and trying to set up as good a platform as possible for people to be able to share those opinions.@itzjustzeke
Yes and no tbh. I knew that the rocketstwitter needed a way to be accurately represented. Twitter’s algorithm doesn’t give a voice to those with a small follower counts. So I knew that it would be receptive as it was made with the intention to give them a voice. However, I thought it would take awhile for it to get big like this! I felt that our fanbase would be apathetic because we’re no longer competing for a championship. I was dead wrong. Rockets fans passion for this team is amazing we’re great fans!
Very surprised! I look at it as a chain reaction though. The more credible people you have on the stage as a speaker only drives bigger crowds to come listen to what’s being said. On Monday night, Roosh Williams joined in to speak with a lot of other famous listeners as well. That intrigues people on Twitter to want to listen in, and last night we saw our crowd explode after Kelly Iko and other famous Rockets analysts came to discuss on our Rockets Town Hall. It’s crazy to see all of the love we’ve been getting and how fast this has taken off, but much credit to Don, Prod, and Zeke. They made this all possible. I’m excited to see where we can grow from here.
Yes, there are other Twitter fan bases you have Lakers Twitter and Warriors Twitter but let’s be honest, how passionate can you be if you haven’t had to deal with 27 straight misses, Yao and McGrady’s injuries being up 3-1 on the Mavericks and John Stockton game-winner. If Rockets Twitter can be this involved for a 1-14 team, imagine how they will be if the Rockets start winning again!