Ali Jamal, Rockets Superfan

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Kirk Hachigian

[dropcap]H[/dropcap]e raises his arms and lets out a mighty roar. Dwight Howard, also known as Superman, has just thrown down a crazy alley-oop dunk and the Rockets fans erupt. As the game goes on, he grows more and more animated, and by the final minute he is jumping out of his seat at any sign of action. This is of course, Rockets superfan and Kinkaid senior Ali Jamal.

Jamal has been a proud Rockets fan for most of his life, and has gone to games since he was just three years old. The games he cannot attend, Ali will always catch online or on TV. He calls the Rockets “a part of who he is” and has lived and died with their games. The playoff loss last year to the Portland Trail Blazers was a difficult moment for Ali, along with every other Rockets fan.

“Losing to the Blazers, in that fashion, was just awful. I thought for sure that we could force a game seven and move on. To lose on a last second shot like that, to a player whose name I refuse to speak, was painful. I didn’t leave my room for a week,” said Jamal.

That kind of passion for one team is tough to find these days, as fans’ loyalty seems to change all the time. Unlike rapper Drake, Ali Jamal has remained loyal to the Rockets and can name the stats for any player on the roster. When asked the Rockets record, he responds “56-26” almost instantly. He is also a huge fan of previous Rockets teams and know a lot about the team history.

“I love this roster, but my favorite Rockets team was the one with Yao and T-Mac. Those were some of the most athletic and skilled guys that I have ever seen play. It is a shame they were injured or we would have won [a championship].”

His love for the Rockets has carried over into his personal life, and Jamal can be found wearing a Rockets shirt or jersey at least two days a week. He also plays tennis with Rockets GM Daryl Morey at the Houston Racquet Club and uses this time to ask him about recent moves and his motivation. His passion has bordered obsession at times, and in the sixth grade, Jamal suffered through a week of detention due to a shaved Rockets logo in his hair.

“Oh yeah, that was great,” he laughed, “I thought it was [awesome], but Mr. Friday didn’t think so.”

As a former debater, Ali has used his debate skills to argue anything sports related. He has made a case for James Harden for MVP and for the Rockets to win the Championship, and will happily debate  anyone who is ready to challenge his case. Jamal almost always comes out on top; recently winning a decisive victory over Tyler Gamble regarding the MVP race during statistics class.

“James Harden is the MVP. Anyone who argues against that is just lying to themselves. The Rockets without Harden are a lottery team; the Warriors without Steph Curry, a playoff team. Harden is first in wins added, and led the Rockets to a two-seed in the toughest conference without Dwight Howard for most of the year,” argued Jamal.

Ali Jamal’s passion and loyalty to the Rockets are great and he will do anything for his team. This enthusiasm has carried over into his tennis play, where he Ali has been recruited to play at Rhodes College.

“Ali is a huge Rockets fan,” said Quinn Kuriger (12), “I think that his passion for the Rockets is on display during his tennis matches where he is one of our most enthusiastic and energetic players.”

Although he may not wear a cape, Ali Jamal is a superhero in his own way and hopes to use his powers to aid the Rockets and bring home a NBA Championship trophy to Houston.