The Houston Rockets will retire former guard James Harden’s No.13 jersey in honor of his stint in the franchise, owner Tilman Fertitta said.
The Rockets sent Harden to the Nets in January as part of a four-team deal that included the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers.
After eight seasons in Houston that included the 2018 MVP award and three milestone titles, Harden wanted out of a franchise he didn’t see making a run for the NBA title.
Harden has been named an All-Star every season with the Rockets and holds the franchise records for three-point field goals made (2,029), free throws made (5,554) and assists (4,796).
Houston also made the playoffs every season during Harden’s tenure with the team, having missed the playoffs three years in a row before his arrival.
“James Harden will always be a Rocket,” Fertitta told the Houston Chronicle. “Of course we’ll take his jersey off. He made my first three years of franchise ownership unforgettable.
“The success he brought to this franchise for eight years and the memories he created for our fan base / community are truly remarkable.”
The Rockets also retired Calvin Murphy (23), Moses Malone (24), Hakeem Olajuwon (34), Rudy Tomjanovich (45), Clyde Drexler (22) and Yao Ming (11). The initials of longtime assistant coach and front office manager Carroll Dawson also hang on the rafters of the Toyota Center.
Harden will return to Houston for the first time Thursday night as the Rockets host Brooklyn.
He said he was ready for his return to Texas. “I am delighted to be returning to Houston where I had an incredible career there,” said Harden. “To get that love and respect, I’m thrilled to perform in front of these fans.”
With Harden, the Nets went from a 7-6 team to a 23-13 team that sits second in the Eastern Conference. As a result, he was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month for February.
“He can literally do almost anything there is to do there, and he’s been a great leader for us,” said Nets coach Steve Nash.
“He can control the game. He’s a very smart defender. I think he’s been exceptional in keeping his team on track – leading, talking, communicating. His passion for the game and his will and desire to winning have been fantastic. “
In 22 games with Brooklyn since the trade, Harden has averaged 25.3 points on 49.0% shots from the field, 41.9% 3-point shots and 85.6% hits from the line. free throws to go with 8.7 rebounds, 11.3 assists and 1.2 steals in 38.3 minutes per game.
He has 19 doubles-doubles and seven triple-doubles – the latter being the second greatest player in Nets history.
Even though the Rockets fell to 11-22 and the penultimate place in the Western Conference without him, Harden added that he hopes “these fans enjoyed everything I did on and off the court. of the ground “, as some 4500 wait to greet it Thursday evening.