Fans brave heat to rally for newest Rocket - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Fans brave heat to rally for newest Rocket

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Hundreds of diehard Rockets fans turned out to welcome the teams newest center to Houston.

"It's not Superman, anymore.  It's Rocketman, Dwight Howard," an announcer's voice boomed out as Howard climbed a stage outside Toyota Center. 

 It was the moment many fans waited hours in the hot Texas sun to hear. 

"If y'all don't know, you can call me Montel Jordan,"  Howard said, after calling one of his new teammates ‘Justin Timberlake.'

The high fiving, joke cracking, picture snapping Howard is the newest member of the elite group of Rocket Centers, whose images now loom large outside of Toyota Center.

"Lets unveil your newest hot rocket before everyone has a heat stroke," the announcer said. 

Saturday's rally was Howard's official introduction to Houston, and the city's steamy summer temperatures.

"Kevin McHale has just announced 2 a days will not be outside," the announcer continued.

Fans, like four year old John, started waiting hours before Howard's welcome rally kicked off.

"Like at ten,"  John said. 

"It's just an exciting day for Houston, and we wanted to be here, be a part of the experience," another fan said.

John and a friend tried to find relief from the sun, sitting on a hot pavement, in the shade of the adults standing around them.

"I'm hot," his friend said, as he held tight to a bottle of water.  Still, both boys said they didn't regret showing up because their big Houston Rocket fans.

"That's why I'm sweating,"  John said with a smile.

 But a little sweat didn't stop the four year old from getting on stage, entertaining the crowd, and winning a dance competition during the wait. 

Hundreds, if not thousands of bottled water later, with at least one distress call from someone suffering from the heat, discomfort finally turned to laughter, as Houstonians let Howard know what they expected next season.  Howard repeated their chant, a reference to another NBA team, not so much the weather. 

"Beat the heat, yeah," he said.  " It's hot outside.  Beat this heat."

His new fans seem confident. 

"He never won for LA because he doesn't like LA,"  one fan said. " He's doing it for Houston."  Howard was joined by several current and former members of the Houston Rockets.   Their appearance was brief.  They spent approximately 15 minutes on stage before heading back into Toyota Center, but fans weren't disappointed.

"Oh my God, the heat was totally worth it," one said.  " Speaking of Heat, they've got nothing on the Rockets this year.  Lebron, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, we're coming for you.  We got Dwight.  We got James.  Let's go Rockets."

And just like that:  the ‘heat' became unimportant, at least for now.


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