Team says Houston Rockets' NBA titles were not left behind after ownership change

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WHERE ARE THE TROPHIES? We track down location of Rockets' two NBA titles

The Rockets are in the midst of one of their best seasons ever, but a missing piece of the franchise's history just ruined the fun for some fans.

The hardware arrived in 1994. "Congratulations to Les Alexander, and to the city of Houston, Texas," Former NBA Commissioner David Stein said during the 1994 celebration.

With his hands on the organization's first title trophy, then Houston Rockets owner, Les Alexander took to the microphone.

"This is for the fans of Houston," Alexander said during the 1994 celebration. "The fans of the Rockets all over the world. They deserve it, and they got it."

After beating the Knicks in a wild seven game series, "Clutch City" threw its first championship party. The team paraded the trophy on fire trucks, and celebrated at The Summit.
The Rockets would go on to win the following year as well. Now, nearly 25 years later, fans can easily find the back-to-back run banners atop the Toyota Center.

But when you go looking for the hardware, you can't find it. After getting his hands on the trophies during the championship ceremonies, Alexander wouldn't let them go.

It was part of the sales process where Leslie and Tillman Fertitta agreed that the trophies as part of the assets would transfer with Leslie when the sale was completed," Houston Rockets Chief Executive Officer Tad Brown said.

We didn't get to see the case. It's in the business office. We'll have to take the organizations word that it's now empty.

"Shame," fan Kimberly Gersham said. "Shame!"

"He was the owner for a while, and I guess he's entitled to that," fan John Ortega said.

Like a lot of pro sports, the NBA presents the trophy to the owner. We reached out to Alexander's foundation to ask why he wouldn't leave the hardware behind. But our calls were not returned.

The Rockets said the old owner keeping a trophy isn't uncommon. And replicas are being made.

"I prefer the real deal," Ortega said. "But, what can you do?"

Fans may not be bummed for too long because the team wants to put a new banner in the rafters and bring home a brand new trophy. But that doesn't mean the team won't get a replica of that one as well.

"As a matter of fact, what we've told Tiffany's is they can just keep that same cast and use it for future opportunities and just send three of them here by the end of the season," Brown said.

But to some fans who have touched the original trophies, they aren't sold with replicas replacing the team's first titles.

"We want the trophies back," fan John Bolingbroke said. "If we have to, we'll come and get them."
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