There have been cheers. There have been boos. There was emotion and reflection and a video tribute.
This, in spite of everything, was James Harden’s night time.
It was The Beard’s first again in Houston since he was traded from the Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets on January 14.. Accordingly, Wednesday’s Nets-Rockets matchup turned appointment tv not for the sport itself, however for the way Harden can be obtained in his return to the town during which he performed for eight-plus seasons.
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No Love Misplaced Between Harden, Ex-Teammates
There have been some doubts about how Harden can be obtained by not solely the Houston followers in attendance at Toyota Heart, however even his ex-Rockets teammates given the tumultuous manner issues ended between Harden and the group.
From the followers, there have been some boos but in addition loads of cheers — particularly after a two-minute video tribute honoring Harden, which prompted Harden to lift his arms to thank the followers.
However with Harden’s former teammates, there seemed to be no love misplaced.
In keeping with The Athletic’s Alykhan Bijani, Harden went over to shake arms with a number of members of the Rockets after the sport. That record included John Wall, Sterling Brown, Mason Jones, Ben McLemore, Jae’Sean Tate (who obtained a hug from Harden, per Bijani), P.J. Tucker (who additionally obtained a hug), Christian Wooden and Victor Oladipo.
Bijani added that Harden shared a prolonged embrace with Tucker and a prolonged second with Wooden.
James Harden shared a prolonged embrace with P.J. Tucker close to the #Rockets sidelines. He additionally shared an excellent prolonged second with Christian Wooden. https://t.co/t2xQTUCiG4
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) March 4, 2021
Postgame scene with Harden and his former #Rockets teammates. A number of love right here. pic.twitter.com/njEkou1aWW
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) March 4, 2021
Earlier than he lastly walked off the court docket and into the tunnel, Harden autographed his sneakers and threw them to followers within the crowd.
James Harden was in a significantly better temper as he walked off the ground inside Toyota Heart than the final time he did 50 days in the past pic.twitter.com/7DVXnaWEcX
— Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane) March 4, 2021
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Harden Reacts After Emotional Evening
Earlier within the week, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Rockets can be retiring Harden’s No. 13 to honor his many contributions — each on and off the court docket — to Houston.
After Wednesday’s recreation, the 2017-18 NBA MVP was requested by ESPN’s Malika Andrews the way it felt to return to Houston understanding that Rockets proprietor Tilman Fertitta has stated Harden’s jersey would grasp within the Toyota Heart rafters someday.
“Credit score the possession of the Rockets, the Fertitta household, for placing my jersey within the rafters,” Harden stated. “Hopefully that reveals, on the court docket and off the court docket, the contribution that I needed to this metropolis. So as soon as once more, I admire the assist, the love, and the present goes on.”
James Harden on his first time again in Houston.
(by way of @malika_andrews) pic.twitter.com/H7sOnkmCk7
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 4, 2021
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