Rockets' Legend Mario Elie Relives 1994, 1995 Finals Runs in Twitter Q&A

Michael Shapiro

Former Rockets guard Mario Elie was never a standout player. He played for five teams in 11 NBA seasons (including two stints with the Suns), and he never averaged more than 11.7 points per game in a season. Elie was a solid bench asset throughout the 1990s, though nobody would confuse him for an All-Star. Yet despite his middling stats, Elie will certainly live on in Rockets' lore for decades to come. 

Elie was a member of the 1994 and 1995 Rockets' teams that won the Finals, logging 24 and 23.4 minutes per game in each season. But in the 1995 Western Conference finals, Elie grew from quality contributor to Houston legend. Elie's "Kiss of Death" shot to beat the Suns in Game 7 remains perhaps the greatest moment in Rockets' history. 

Elie turned back the clock on Wednesday, holding a Twitter Q&A to relive the 1994 and 1995 Finals runs. And Elie's conversation with Rockets' fans (and general manager Daryl Morey) provided plenty of interesting tidbits. 

Here are the best answers from Elie's Q&A on Wednesday. (Answers have been edited for length and clarity)

Q: Which current Rocket would he like to pair with a player on the 1995 team

Elie: "I would’ve [loved] to see Clyde [Drexler] and [James] Harden play. Two guards with great size and skills."

Q: How did Hakeem Olajuwon react to David Robinson winning the 1995 MVP?

Elie: "He wasn’t happy and was laser focus. He made moves we never seen before. Fun to be part of that."

Q: Did the 1994 or 1995 championship mean more? 

Elie: "1995 was the hardest road out of any team in NBA history. Having no home court advantage and winning nine road games. Lowest seed ever to win a championship."

Q: Besides actually winning the championships, what was your favorite moment during either playoff run?

Elie: "First round Game 5 against Utah 1995. [Fourth quarter] our season on the line and listening to [Olajuwon] say we have to make our move now and we did. We responded like [a] champion."

Q: When the “kiss of death” shot left your hands, did you know it was good?

Elie: "Sure did. Felt great leaving my hands and the best thing of all was it went all net."