Rockets officially introduces billionaire Tilman Fertitta as new owner

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Tillman Fertitta says owning the Rockets is a dream come true (KTRK)

Billionaire Tilman Fertitta is officially taking over as the new owner of the Houston Rockets, and he's making it clear he is excited about this new era.

"It's a dream come true," Fertitta said at a news conference, while admitting he cried when he found out the team was his.

Fertitta's $2.2 billion bid, an NBA record, to own the storied franchise was approved unanimously last week among the league's owners.

"I thought I knew a lot about basketball. I've learned more about basketball in the last 30 days than I learned in the last 30 years," Fertitta said at his introductory news conference. "It's a lot different technology and a science than just what the fans see."

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Fertitta, who is the owner and and CEO of Landry's Inc., which includes the Kemah Boardwalk and Landry's Seafood, is buying the team from outgoing owner Les Alexander.

"I'm here for the tough decisions," Fertitta said. "I'm into details. I'm not into micromanaging. I rely heavily, heavily, heavily on the people who get up and do this every day. I have this other big $4 billion company to run."

Fans can expect to see some of the Landry's brand restaurants popping up at Toyota Center. The billionaire businessman with his heart in the hospitality industry didn't stop there. Fertitta promised "better food" for fans, media and the team.

"I didn't think the players' cafeteria was very nice and we're going to fix it," he laughed.

While discussing the team's future, Fertitta promised, "We're going to do whatever it takes to win. I promise you that."

And he's not stopping there. Fertitta confessed he's always wanted to own a hockey team in his hometown and he would buy a franchise tomorrow if he could. But before he brings one to Houston, he said he needs to ensure a team could sell out every night.

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Alexander first bought the franchise in 1993, just before the Rockets scored the first of back-to-back NBA championships. Back in July when he announced the team for sale, Alexander expressed now being the time to sell the team. For Alexander, the move to hand over the reins of the club to Fertitta was natural.

"I have been friends with Tilman since 1993, so it is my great honor to announce that Tilman and his family have been able to fulfill their dream of owning the Houston Rockets," said Alexander, who noted Fertitta's previous involvement in the Rockets. "Tilman's passion, commitment to excellence, and unrivaled love for the city of Houston are going to serve him well as a great owner of this proud franchise."

The question of the national anthem was raised at the press conference. Fertitta said the Houston Rockets will follow along with the NBA policy that everyone stands for the anthem.

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