Dwight Howard will officially join the Rockets on Saturday.

He will be the guest of honor at a public rally at Root Memorial Square Park across from Toyota Center without even having to play for the court. He will go through the usual news conference and pose for the customary hold-up-the-uniform photos. He might even get a new cap.

Amid all the festivities and ceremonies to mark the occasion, Howard will also receive a symbolic, but significant honor.

Howard will receive membership in an elite club of Rockets centers, a place in the proud lineage that stretches from Elvin Hayes to Moses Malone, Ralph Sampson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Yao Ming.

Each will be part of the public rally as a way to not only remind of that part of Rockets’ history and the faith that Howard will take his place in that line of big men stretching from San Diego to Toyota Center, but as a sign that they too consider him worthy of membership.

The Rockets believe that they have never before all been together at the same time, with at least one always missing from events in which most had gathered.

The significance of Saturday’s celebration was deemed fitting to have them all together at last.

This was part of the Rockets’ pitch to Howard. It was not the most significant part of his decision to leave the Lakers to join them. He said his top priority by far was to choose the team he believed would be most likely to win a championship. He said his private sit-down with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander was vital. But he also described himself as moved by the sense that Yao and Olajuwon believed he belonged in their proud alliance.