The Nets are set to face the Rockets on the Toyota Middle on Wednesday, marking James Harden’s return to Houston for the primary time since he was dealt to Brooklyn in a mega four-team commerce in January.
A day earlier than Harden’s return, information broke that the Rockets plan to honor No. 13 in an enormous approach.
Rockets to Retire Harden’s Quantity
Harden spent a full eight seasons with Rockets, along with the primary few video games of this season. His impression was monumental: He helped lead Houston to the postseason in all eight of these seasons, he was the 2017-18 MVP, and he averaged 29.four factors, 7.eight assists and 6.1 rebounds in 621 video games.
And now the Rockets are honoring him accordingly.
The Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen reported Tuesday that the Rockets plan to retire Harden’s jersey quantity.
“James Harden will all the time be a Rocket,” Rockets proprietor Tilman Fertitta wrote in a textual content message to Feigen on Tuesday. “In fact, we are going to retire his jersey. He made my first three years of proudly owning this franchise unforgettable. The success he introduced this franchise over eight years and the reminiscences he created for our fan base/group (are) really outstanding.”
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Harden in Uncommon Firm
Six different gamers have had their uniform numbers retired by the Rockets. That checklist consists of: Calvin Murphy (23,) Moses Malone (24,) Hakeem Olajuwon (34,) Rudy Tomjanovich (45,) Clyde Drexler (22,) and Yao Ming (11).
Harden was the eleventh participant — and now final — to put on No. 13.
Whereas Harden’s on-court feats absolutely benefit him for the dignity, he was equally impactful off the courtroom for town of Houston. He just lately donated 3,000 meals to folks in Houston affected by the storm. Per ESPN’s Malika Andrews, Harden mentioned he was on the telephone “every single day making an attempt to impression town as a result of they’ve proven me a lot love and respect within the time that I used to be there.”
James Harden, who donated 3,000 meals to folks in Houston affected by extreme climate associated power-outages and meals shortages, says he has been on the telephone “every single day making an attempt to impression town as a result of they’ve proven me a lot love and respect within the time that I used to be there.”
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) February 22, 2021
Nonetheless, given the best way issues ended between Harden and the Rockets, it was no less than a bit stunning for Tuesday’s information to floor as quickly because it did — and with Houston within the midst of a 12-game dropping streak, no much less.
Asserting that Harden’s No. 13 might be retired, whereas #Rockets are in center of 12-game dropping streak — after he bailed on crew and franchise — and the day earlier than Harden’s #Nets arrive in Houston, is just not my favourite second in latest Rockets historical past.https://t.co/egwlRfcXXX
— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) March 2, 2021
Harden, who had requested a commerce whereas nonetheless with the Rockets this previous offseason, was absent for the start of coaching camp whereas attending occasions in Atlanta and Las Vegas. Then, a few days earlier than being dealt to the Nets, he had this to say after a blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers:
“We’re not even shut, truthfully, to that crew (the Lakers) — clearly the defending champions — and all the opposite elite groups on the market. You’ll be able to inform the distinction in these final two video games.
“We’re simply not ok. Clearly chemistry, talent-wise, simply… every little thing. It was clear. They’re a veteran crew, a championship crew, probably the greatest groups that we now have on this league.
“I really like this metropolis. I’ve actually carried out every little thing I can. This case is loopy. It’s one thing that — I don’t assume it may be mounted.”
James Harden: We’re not even shut, truthfully, to that crew, the clearly the defending champions, and to all the opposite elite groups on the market. I imply, you’ll be able to inform the distinction these final two video games.” pic.twitter.com/l6WDfBrtNS
— Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane) January 13, 2021
Harden expressed remorse over how the scenario unfolded to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in an interview in late February.
“The drama, the additional no matter you need to name it, the negativity, for me I don’t actually like unfavorable power, it’s draining,” Harden mentioned. “I don’t like the way it essentially occurred, I really feel prefer it might’ve occurred loads smoother, simpler, however it’s what it’s.”
After eight-plus years doing loads for the Rockets and the bigger Houston group, Harden hopes the followers obtain him warmly on Wednesday.
“We got here up in need of a championship,” Harden mentioned, per Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. “Hopefully these followers appreciated every little thing I did on the courtroom and off the courtroom and what I proceed to do off the courtroom. I really feel like I’m nonetheless aside of the struggles they undergo.”
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