HAPPY DOME DAY!

Astrodome fans, you're invited to this historical unveiling for Eighth Wonder of the World

Fans are invited to a major historical unveiling today at 3 p.m. Courtesy of City of Houston

This story originally appeared on CultureMap/Houston. Steven Devadanam is the editor of that site.

The Houston Rockets season may be over, but sports fans can still celebrate this month. Supporters of all things H-Town sports and the Astrodome are encouraged to don their sports apparel (or anything “Astrodome related,” according to the invitation) and attend the unveiling and dedication for a new Texas State Historical Marker for the Eighth Wonder of the World.

The event will take place at 3 pm Tuesday, May 29 on the west side of the Astrodome at NRG Park. Parking can be accessed through Gate 9 at Westridge and Kirby. The lot will open at 2 pm. Guests can expect brief remarks from multiple speakers including Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who has been a tireless advocate of repurposing the building, and Dene Hofheinz (daughter of Roy Hofheinz), who is most associated with the creation of the Astrodome. There will also will be followed by the marker unveiling.

It’s been a banner year for Astrodome supporters. In February, the Harris County Commissioners court approved a $105 million project that would reconfigure the Astrodome into an event center. The plan involves raising the ground level up two floors, which would create a parking garage with 1,400 more parking spots.

And in March, diehard Dome fans were treated to a Domecoming, where locals were allowed to tour the facility one last time before construction began, creating an opportunity for priceless selfies.

This month’s dedication is the result of efforts of Harris County Historical Commission member and Heritage Society program director Mike Vance, and Mike Acosta, a team historian for the Houston Astros. The two longtime researchers of Houston sports history have worked for years on efforts to preserve and reimagine the iconic Astrodome.

The marker designation makes the building a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, judged by the state to be both historically and architecturally significant. This is in addition to the Astrodome's status as a State Antiquities Landmark and the title of being on the National Register of Historic Places. The marker is sponsored by the World Champion Houston Astros, and is also supported by the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation and NRG Park.

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5 questions on the John Wall trade

The Rockets made a big move. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets point guard carousel continued to spin Wednesday night, as the Woj bomb-iest of Houston-related Woj bombs erupted in the Space City:

For the third year in a row, the Rockets will begin the season with a new point guard, in an attempt to finally find someone that can play alongside James Harden. Let's take a look at how the Rockets got to this point, and what it means moving forward.

What led to the trade?

Russell Westbrook simply wanted out. Westbrook is the type of player that needs to be the number one ball handler and that simply wasn't ever going to happen on a James Harden led team. Other reports cited Westbrook's frustration with the lack of accountability and casual atmosphere within the locker room. Ultimately if anyone was going to be moved between Harden and Westbrook, it was always going to be Westbrook.

Why John Wall?

This one is another fairly straightforward answer: they both have relatively similar contracts. Each is making an absurdly overpriced $40 million this season, and both were disgruntled with their current team. Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone and Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard tossed the idea around a few weeks ago, but couldn't find a deal they liked. It was reported that discussions resumed Wednesday afternoon and within a few hours the deal was done in an almost one-for-one swap.

How does Wall fit?

This is a little more complicated because it's not exactly known what head coach Stephen Silas' game plan is. It's also difficult to predict whether or not Harden will still be on the roster when the season starts. But let's assume that Harden takes the court for the Rockets and that Silas' system resembles something similar to what we've seen in Houston for the past few years. In that case, Wall would be a slight upgrade to Westbrook. Westbrook is more athletic than Wall, but when healthy Wall was no slouch. In addition he's a much better defensive player and has much better court vision than Westbrook. Westbrook's assists were usually a bailout after attacking the lane with his head down, while Wall is more likely to set up a teammate.

This isn't to say that Wall doesn't need the ball though. He's fairly ball dominant, but not nearly as much as Westbrook. Harden proved last season that he's capable of effectively playing off the ball if necessary, so it seems like a better fit from a distribution rate alone. If they can find that sweet spot like they did with Chris Paul and stagger the lineups so that each star gets their own time to create, there's potential for an improved Rockets team more reminiscent of their 2018 run than the past two years.

What are the best and worst case scenarios?

The worst case is that the Rockets were sold a lemon. Wall has potential to be an upgrade, but comes with huge risk. He last took the court in 2018, where he was sidelined with a knee injury. He subsequently ruptured his Achilles in an accident at his home while recovering from the knee injury, forcing Wall off the court for almost two years. It's possible an extremely unfortunate Wall reinjures something and completely derails the machinations of the trade. Even if he's recovered fully, it will take time to get him up to game speed which could frustrate Harden on a team that can't afford a slow start in their stacked conference. Harden has managed to cultivate drama with just about every co-star he's played with, so there's no reason to assume this attempt would go any better.

The best case scenario is that Wall arrives ready to play team basketball and resembles the better part of his pre-injury form. Wall and Harden buy into Silas' new system, space the floor, and take turns carving up the lane with dribble drives and kick outs to players who can actually hit from distance. This version of the Rockets could potentially be a 3-seed in this year's Western Conference.

Who won the trade?

At the moment the Rockets. Not only did they remove at least one of their locker room distractions, but they also gain a first round pick. If Wall can stay healthy and Silas can keep both stars happy, this team should be a lot more fun to watch than last season's clunker.

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