Houston Sports Authority Announces Houston’s Legendary #34s to be Honored at The Houston Sports Awards
In Houston, 34 isn’t just another number…
Hall of Famers Earl Campbell, Hakeem Olajuwon and Nolan Ryan all wore that number during their playing days in the city and that iconic trio will be among those honored at the inaugural Houston Sports Awards February 8.
“There have been many greats that have played in Houston, but arguably three of the best all happened to wear the number 34,” said Janis Burke, CEO of the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority. “We are proud and couldn’t be more excited to celebrate and honor these three Houston legends at our first ever Houston Sports Awards.”
Campbell remembered his first game in the Astrodome taking on Austin Reagan in the high school state championship and then returning 5 years later to play for the Oilers and the great Bum Phillips. “It all seemed like a world away from Tyler, Texas,” Campbell said. “Somehow Hakeem, Nolan and myself all ended up with number 34. This is extremely rare air to be flying in and I’m truly honored to be surrounded with two of the best to ever do it.”
Ryan has always been proud to share the number 34 with both Hakeem and Earl and is looking forward to sharing the night with them as well. “Obviously, to be honored with those guys is definitely exciting.” Ryan said, “It’s definitely an honor for me to be a part of that.”
Two-time National League MVP Dale Murphy called Ryan “the only pitcher you start thinking about two days before you face him.” The 70-year-old Alvin native’s career spanned four decades, 324 wins and a major league-record: 5,714 strikeouts. When Ryan signed with the Houston Astros, he became baseball’s first one million dollar per year player. Nicknamed the Ryan Express, he was drafted by the New York Mets and then played for the California Angels before coming to Houston. He finished his career with the Texas Rangers and is now an executive advisor for the Astros.
After winning the Heisman Trophy at the University of Texas, the Oilers made the 5-11, 232-pound running back the first pick of the 1978 NFL draft and he took the NFL by storm. The Tyler Rose, named for his hometown of Tyler, was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, All-Pro, and Rookie of the Year in his first season, won league rushing championship with 1,450 yards and was named to the AFC Pro Bowl squad. The 62-year-old was one of the best power running backs the game has seen. He was named to the Pro Bowl in five of his first six seasons and finished his career with 2,187 carries for 9,407 yards.
The 54-year-old, Nigerian-born Olajuwon first made waves in Houston as a member of the University of Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma, leading the Cougars to three consecutive Final Four appearances. He was drafted by the Rockets and became one of the greatest players in NBA history, leading the Rockets to back-to-back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995. In 1993-94 Hakeem had a storybook season, becoming the first player to be named NBA MVP, NBA Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Finals MVP in the same season. His incredible moves under the basket – The Dream Shake – made him almost unstoppable. In 18 NBA seasons, Hakeem averaged 21.8 ppg, and was a 12-time all-star.
About the Houston Sports Awards
The first annual Houston Sports Awards will be held on February 8, 2018 at the Hilton Americas. This star-studded red carpet dinner and awards show will be televised LIVE on AT&T SportsNet Southwest and streamed LIVE on CBS sports radio. The Award show will gather together Houston’s top athletes, both past and present, to commemorate, celebrate and recognize Houston’s top sports achievements, performers and moments.