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Ex-Rockets star Robert Reid, who briefly retired to devote time to his religion, dead at 68

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Robert Reid, who starred for the Houston Rockets throughout the late 1970s and most of the next decade, died on Monday at the age of 68.

Reid, who spent 10 of his 13 NBA seasons with the Rockets, died after a battle with cancer.

“It is with great sorrow that my family and I received the news of the passing of Rockets legend, Robert Reid,” Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta posted on X, formerly Twitter, Tuesday afternoon. 

Robert Reid of the Houston Rockets makes a layup during a game in the 1987-1988 season. (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

“I have had the privilege of knowing Robert for over 40 years, and his presence always brought joy and positivity to any room he entered. I will never forget watching the Rockets teams he was a part of in the 80s compete in the Finals and the love he had for the game. My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Diana, and all those who held him dear. Robert’s absence will be deeply felt, and he will be fondly remembered.”

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Reid played in two NBA Finals with the Rockets in 1981 and 1986, but those teams lost to the Boston Celtics amid their dynasty.

However, Larry Bird gave props to Reid for his stout defense in the ’81 series – the Hall of Famer scored just eight points in Games 3 and 4 of that series in Houston while guarded by Reid.

“I scored eight points in both games down there. All of a sudden, Robert Reid is this great defensive force,” Bird wrote, as covered by the Chronicle. “Robert is a good defensive player, but he’s no Michael Cooper. I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. I couldn’t hit a shot, but otherwise, I thought I was playing good basketball.”

Robert Reid guarding Larry Bird

Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics looks to pass while being defended by Robert Reid of the Rockets during a game in Houston circa 1981. (Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

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Reid famously retired in 1982, just before his sixth NBA season, after the Rockets traded Moses Malone, to devote his time to his Pentecostal faith. He also left the team the year prior due what the New York Times called “resolv[ing] the conflicts between his basketball career and his religious beliefs.”

“You have loved ones who are not interested in money and fame, they’re just concerned about your soul,” Reid told the L.A. Times in 1985 of his decision to take the year off. “I decided to quit. I was through with professional basketball. It just wasn’t important to me. I made my decision and I felt good.”

He returned to the Rockets in 1983 and averaged 14.0 points per game, which at that point had been the second-best mark of his career.

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Robert Reid on bench

Robert Reid of the Houston Rockets is shown during a game in 1980. (Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images)

Reid also played for the original Charlotte Hornets, Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers.

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Source: Fox News

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