Every-Thing Sports

Never fear Houston, Watson is here!

Matt Patterson/Houston Texans

Sometimes in life you encounter people who command a room. Whether it's a good or bad thing, these people make eyes and attention shift to them. There's almost a mystic or magical draw to them. You can hardly describe it. You simply feel drawn to them for some reason. That feeling is amplified when the person is true and genuine. When they're perceived as real and/or authentic, they tend to have a more long-lasting effect on those around them.

A perfect example of the kind of person I'm referring to is Texans' quarterback Deshaun Watson. Watson is the type of athlete that only comes along every so often. Not only is he very good at his profession, he's also the kind of person you'd root for if he were a regular guy.

His backstory

It's been mentioned, featured, and talked about ad nauseum that Watson grew up under-privileged, dodging trouble in the streets of Gainesville, GA, and even getting one of the houses Warrick Dunn would gift to single mothers. Overcoming all of this, plus his mother's tongue cancer, is why he's built for just about anything. It is also why he's so easy to root for.

His abilities

It was second and six on the Bills' 44 yard line in overtime and the game was still tied at 19. Each team had a possession, so the next score would win the game. Watson evaded two would-be sackers, spun around, and found Taiwan Jones for a 34-yard gain that set up the game-winning field goal. Going back to his collegiate days at Clemson, we've seen Watson do these types of things. He's the only quarterback in the last 15 postseasons to lead his team to 14-point plus comebacks in both college and the NFL. Why? He works hard and prepares to amplify his God-given abilities. Remember that touchdown run against the Bengals his rookie season?

His likability

This kid gets it. He got drafted by the Texans and almost immediately endeared himself to the city. The picture above of him wearing the Warren Moon Houston Oilers throwback jersey heading to a game was one of those moments that made people instantly like him. The amazing plays help, but he knows what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. When he donated his first game check to cafeteria employees of the team affected by Hurricane Harvey, he started off the right way and has done nothing but make the right moves at every turn.

The results

While beating the Bills was huge, there's more work to be done. Watson has some impressive stats he's put up, as well as some good wins. But in the NFL, the only thing that ultimately matters is winning titles. The Texans have never advanced to an AFC title game, which also means they've never won, or played in, a Super Bowl. If Watson should happen to pull that off, he will cement himself as the greatest athlete in Houston sports history. Baby steps need to be made however, but Watson is seeming to make them in leaps and bounds. He will need help bringing a Super Bowl to Houston, but he appears ready to shoulder the bulk of the load.

When one looks at current Houston athletes and ranks them, most would put Jose Altuve or James Harden on top of that list. Some may still have J.J. Watt up there. For me, Watson is taking aim at that crown. Altuve is no longer the best player on the Astros. Harden hasn't been able to get the Rockets over the hump, despite putting up insane numbers. Watt has missed more games than he's played in over the last few years. Add all of this up with the fact that Watson has emerged as one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, and his other intangbles, I don't see how you can't have atop this list.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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