Rudy Tomjanovich is a former basketball player known for playing in the NBA for the Houston Rockets. He is included in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was also a former head coach for the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rudolph Tomjanovich Jr. was born on November 24, 1938, in Hamtramck, Michigan. Rudy was introduced to basketball at an early age by his father, who coached a local team, and was the youngest of six children. Rudy quickly developed a love for the game and went on to star for his high school team.
After graduation, he enrolled at the University of Detroit and played under legendary coach Dick Vitale. Rudy was a key player on the Titans’ NCAA Championship team in 1977 and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Tomjanovich enjoyed a successful NBA playing career, spending his entire 11-year career with the Houston Rockets. He was drafted in 1970 and quickly became a key player for the team.
In 1971-72, he averaged 17.4 points per game and was named to the All-Rookie team. He was named an All-Star in 1974 and 1976 and helped the Rockets to the NBA Finals in 1981. After retiring from playing in 1981, Tomjanovich transitioned to coaching. He led the Rockets to back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995, becoming one of only four coaches in the history of the NBA to win consecutive titles.
In addition to his success on the court, Tomjanovich overcame some personal tragedies. In 1977, he was punched by Lakers player Kermit Washington during a game, suffering a fractured jaw and skull. He also battled cancer in 1991 and again in 2008. Despite these challenges, Tomjanovich remained positive and successful throughout his life.
- 1969-70 First-team All-Big Ten
- 1970 NABC Third-Team All-American
- 1970 AP, UIP Second-teamAll-American
- 1974-77, 1979 NBA All-Star