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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

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 'Houston 57' by Guest Historian Chris Oakley
Guest Historian Guest Historian Chris Oakley says, This thread is a re-post of material that previously appeared in Changing The Times and Othertimelines.com; in it, we explore how NBA history might have been changed if the Rochester Royals had moved to Houston instead of Cincinnati after the 1956-57 NBA season. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit the Changing the Times web site.
Rochester Royals

August 28


On this day in 1957, the Houston Oilers held their inaugural preseason workout at the Rice University campus.

Logo - Rochester Royals
Rochester Royals

September 18

On this day in 1957, the Houston Oilers played their first-ever exhibition game at Sam Houston Coliseum, beating the Fort Wayne Pistons 115-114.                                      

Logo - Rochester Royals
Rochester Royals

February 13

On this day in 1957, Les Harrison, owner of the NBA's Rochester Royals, finalized a deal with a trio of Texas millionaires to relocate his franchise to the Houston area for the 1957-58 NBA season. In tribute to Houston's role in the Texas oil boom of the early 20th century, the team would subsequently be renamed the Houston Oilers.

Logo - Rochester Royals
Rochester Royals

June 21

On this day in 1957, the Oilers introduced their official team mascot: Wildcat Willie, a cartoon feline decked out in overalls and hardhat similar to those of the 'wildcat' drillers in the Texas oil industry.

Logo - Rochester Royals
Rochester Royals

March 3

On this day in 1957, the Houston Oilers unveiled their new logo, a red, white, and aqua oil rig derrick. That same day Rice University agreed to lease its gym to the Oilers for their practice sessions.

Logo - Rochester Royals
Rochester Royals

November 4

On this day in 1957, the Houston Oilers earned their first NBA regular season victory at Sam Houston Coliseum, beating the New York Knicks 97-88. The win was dubbed "the Sputnik game" by Houston sportswriters because it took place on the same day that the Sputnik 2 space satellite was launched by the Soviet Union.

Logo - Rochester Royals
Rochester Royals

November 12

On this day in 1957, the Oilers posted their first NBA regular season road win since moving to Houston; they beat the Syracuse Nationals in overtime 121-117 at Onondaga County War Memorial Arena.

Logo - Rochester Royals
Rochester Royals

March 15

On this day in 1958, the Houston Oilers recorded their first postseason victory at Sam Houston Coliseum, beating the St. Louis Hawks 110-89 in the opener of a best-of-three NBA Western Division first round series. The Oilers would go on to win that series two games to one and advance to the 1958 NBA Western Division finals; their pedal-to-the-metal playing style would attract a host of new fans to the team.

Logo - Rochester Royals
Rochester Royals

Four years later, that same style would bring Houston its first NBA world championship.

April 4

On this day in 1958, the Oilers extended head coach Bobby Wanzer's contract through the end of the 1961-62 NBA season.

 - Bobby Wanzer
Bobby Wanzer

July 13

On this day in 1958, a group of Dallas businessmen who were also sports enthusiasts met to form the Texas Athletic Partnership, a consortium that aimed to bring a professional basketball team to the Dallas area either by buying an existing team and relocating it to Dallas-Fort Worth or by creating an expansion team. This group would become one of the driving forces behind the creation of a potential rival to the NBA, the Intercontinental Basketball League (IBL); it was also instrumental in securing NFL and Major League Baseball franchises for the city.


October 11

On this day in 1958, the Oilers began looking for a suitable location on which to build their home arena, a proposed 40,000-seat facility to be called Harris County Fieldhouse.


April 12

On this day in 1959, the St. Louis Hawks stunned the Oilers by coming back from a twenty-point fourth quarter deficit to beat Houston in overtime 120-114 in the third game of the 1959 NBA Western Division finals; the Hawks went on to win the series three games to two, sending the Oilers home without a title for the second straight year.

 - St. Louis Hawks
St. Louis Hawks

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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.