Houston Rockets faithful, more than two decades have passed since Mario Elie sunk the ‘Kiss of Death’ shot. Let’s reflect back on an iconic moment.
Houston Rockets’ faithful, twenty-five years ago to the date tomorrow, the greatest shot in Rockets history happened. It came from Mario Elie in a critical playoff game in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Phoenix Suns’ as Houston was bound to make a run to defend their championship from the previous season.
Rockets fans, today should be a national holiday. If by national, you mean everywhere but Phoenix, then we’ll take it. But in all seriousness, today is the 25th anniversary of by far the greatest shot in Houston Rockets history.
Wait a minute! The Greatest Shot? What about Ralph Sampson against the Lakers in 1986? Hakeem Olajuwon vs. the Magic in 1995? How about Josh Smith against the Clippers in 2015 or Eddie Johnson in 1997? Sorry to those who believe in those shots. But this one was the best.
It was a shot that was an exclamation mark of why you cannot underestimate anybody. It was a shot that defined an otherwise critical role player on the team. It was a shot that propelled one franchise to greater heights and ended another franchise’s otherwise great tenure at the basketball elite. It was also the crowd silencer that ended with a very passionate kiss. This kiss wasn’t one of love and romance. This kiss wasn’t one of a parent’s love to a child. This kiss was one of good night and death.
Now, I don’t mean death in a literal way mind you. But when it comes to the greatest shot in Houston Rockets’ history, there has to be a title or a nickname to make it seem more legendary. This is why, for this edition, we break down the shot in ways that might not ever be explained. In a tale that would make any western movie pause, this is the story of a shot that became what it was to our franchise and to a heroic icon.
This is the story of the Kiss of Death.