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For Thunder's Scott Brooks, second NBA title just wasn’t meant to be

JOHN ROHDE Modified: June 4, 2009 at 12:17 am •  Published: June 4, 2009
The Thunder has eight NBA championship rings. Unfortunately, none belong to its players.

General manager Sam Presti won three rings with the San Antonio Spurs. He was alongside player development assistant Brian Keefe and director of player personnel Rob Hennigan, who won two each with the Spurs.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks won one NBA title and was on his way to winning two straight before the business side of the sport stole his chance for a second ring.

The year was 1995. It was the last time — and first time — the Orlando Magic advanced to the NBA Finals.

Brooks was a backup point guard for the Houston Rockets, the defending NBA champs led by center Hakeem Olajuwon.

The night before the trade deadline, the Rockets traded to get Clyde Drexler from Portland in exchange for Otis Thorpe, reuniting Olajuwon with his hometown college teammate.

Dallas then acquired Brooks in exchange for Morlon Wiley and a 1995 second-round pick (Eric Meek).

Brooks was on the Mavericks roster when the Rockets swept Orlando 4-0 for their second straight title.

"When I was traded, I was not happy about it,” admitted Brooks, who was 29 at the time. "I loved Houston. I loved the team. I loved the coaches. I also knew that was part of the business.”

Though he had played more than half the 1994-95 season with Houston, Brooks received no championship ring and was voted no playoff bonus.

"At that time, it was the right thing to do,” Brooks said.

Brooks said he was pulling hard for his former teammates to make it two straight.

"When you’re with a team that goes that far, that fights hard and has that many ups and downs, you’re lifelong friends,” Brooks said. "I have so much respect for what those guys did that year. If you’re not in it (the Finals), you cheer for your buddies.”

Every year around this time is when Brooks thinks back to his magical time with the Rockets.

"Obviously, it’s a special moment,” Brooks said.

Brooks, the wee point guard out of Cal-Irvine, has one more NBA championship ring than Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton and several other past greats.

"I’m not one to say winning a championship validates somebody’s career,” Brooks said.


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