Houston, Texas, USA: At the end of the first annual Houston Sports Awards, the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority (HCHSA) unveiled the Houston Sports Hall of Fame. The first inductees, Nolan Ryan, Hakeem Olajuwon and Earl Campbell, all wore jersey #34.
The Houston Sports Awards honors the athletes, coaches and moments that made 2017 an exciting year for H-town.
For Moment of the Year, exciting times like Jeff Bagwell’s Hall of Fame induction and the Astros World Series championship made the cut.
In addition, the event honors the number 34, which has been worn in Houston by Nolan Ryan, Campbell, and Olajuwon.
J.J. Watt was honored with the Sportsmanship Award, Astros General Manager, Jeff Luhnow received Executive of the Year, and former Rockets owner Leslie Alexander garnered the Lifetime Achievement Award.
As the first three members of the Hall of Fame, the three, Nolan Ryan, Hakeem Olajuwon and Earl Campbell, will be honored at first as a Walk of Fame somewhere along the GreenStreet area in downtown Houston. Houston Sports Authority CEO Janis Burke says she hopes the Walk of Fame will be completed by the summer.
Eventually, that Walk of Fame will turn into a Hall of Fame building that will honor all the sports greats in Houston.
“This night, honoring the 34s has been about 10 years in the making,” Burke said. “And, then we were able to get them all in the same room together, and we thought, ‘We have to capitalize on this and put together a Hall of Fame.'”
Future hall of famers, Burke said, will be announced at succeeding Houston Sports Award banquets each February.
Fred Cuellar, the CEO of Diamond Cutters International, provided the rings for Olajuwon, Ryan and Campbell on Thursday night and said he will provide rings for every member that goes into the Hall of Fame. Cuellar will make a ring, which he estimates to cost between $60,000 and $100,000 each, for each Hall of Fame member and a replica that eventually will be displayed in the Hall of Fame as well.