Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets

(By Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, as appeared in Chron, October 11, 2017)

When Tilman Fertitta was introduced as the Rockets owner on Tuesday, he also presented the next Rockets owners.

Fertitta said the Rockets will be a family business, with his children one day to take over. Even before then, when he said he is too old at 60 to gain the expertise to take over the basketball decision-making, he said pointed to his oldest sons Michael and Patrick and said they will begin those studies.

 

They will not begin telling Rockets general manager Daryl Morey who to select on draft night. But they will know who he will choose long before the commissioner shakes his hand.

“One of the things that made this franchise so attractive to us, beyond that it is in the city we love and that it is a franchise that is prepared and ready to win, is that the executive management team is second to none,” Patrick Fertitta said. “We firmly believe that. It starts with Tad (Brown, the Rockets CEO), Daryl and his guys Monte (McNair), Gersson (Rosas) and Eli (Witus). These are some of the best in the business at analyzing the game, developing players and studying what talent is out there.

“So, we’re going to do our best to learn as much as possible and absorb as much as possible from those guys. Hopefully, down the road, our insight is valid and useful and we can be an asset in any type of way. But right now, we’re so comfortable being able to rely and count on Daryl and his team. They’re excellent.”

Still, Morey might see as much of Fertitta’s oldest sons when working the phones as he will his new boss, with Patrick especially coming into his role as a particularly avid fan.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to being in those rooms and being a part of those conversations on draft day and trade day,” Patrick said. “As of right now, it’s just something we find a joy and a pleasure. For right now, we’re going to let those guys who do this for a living make the decisions.

“Myself, my brothers (Michael and Blake) and my sister (Blayne) we’re all fans of the Houston Rockets. We’re going to do whatever it takes for this franchise to be a perennial contender and hopefully win numerous championships for decades to come.”

Michael said he will need to catch up first with Patrick’s knowledge of the game, saying his younger brother can describe Bucks trades from 2005.

“While I’ve been a fan watching the game, Patrick has been studying the game,” Michael said. “Now, I have to keep up with his pace.”

Fertitta left little doubt that his purchase of the Rockets was a family decision, even joking about the role his children will assume immediately.

“It’s real simple,” Fertitta said. “I sat down with my family and said, “We’re going to pay $2 billion for the Houston Rockets. Is there anything else you’d rather buy for $2 billion? Is there anything else you would rather own anywhere? Think about this build world. Do you want a space shuttle? Do you want to buy the Bellagio? What do you want? There wasn’t even a close second. The Houston Rockets. This family loves owning the Houston Rockets.

“They will be involved in the decision-making process as much as I will. If something happens you don’t like, go after my kids.”

Until then, Michael and Patrick said they are in training, knowing their role can grow in the decades the family owns the Rockets franchise.

“We talk about the future a lot,” Patrick said. “We’ll have really big shoes to fill here at the Rockets and over at the unbelievable diverse company our dad has built over the last 30 years. Our goal is to get smarter and be more of an asset every day.

“If the opportunity presents itself to take on an executive role here, it would be an honor, it would be a privilege and it’s something we certainly get excited talking about. Until then, we’re just trying to learn as much as we can every year.”

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