Although James Hardenleft the team in January to join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets team owner Tilman Fertitta announced that the team plans to retire Harden’s number 13 jersey. 

In a statement to the Houston Chronicle, Fertitta stated, "James Harden will always be a Rocket. Of course, we will retire his jersey. He made my first three years of owning the franchise unforgettable. The success he brought this franchise over eight years and the memories he created for our fan base/community [are] truly remarkable." 

These comments come before tonight’s Nets and Rockets matchup, and Harden’s first game back in Houston since he was traded to the Nets in January. 

Harden expressed excitement in his upcoming return, stating during a recent interview, “I’m excited just to go back to Houston where I basically had an unbelievable career there. They showed me mad love & respect & I’m just excited to be playing in front of those fans..Yeah I’m excited."

Regardless of how he left, Harden was an amazing talent in Houston. In all eight seasons with the Rockets franchise, Harden led the team to the playoff including two trips to the Conference Finals in 2015 and 2018. After averaging 30.4 points, 8.8 assists, and 5.4 rebounds, Harden was named the 2017-2018 NBA MVP, the third player in the franchise to earn the reward. Harden is also the franchise leader in assists and second behind Hakeem Olajuwon in franchise points and win shares.

When his jersey is lifted at the Toyota Center he will be immortalized with Calvin Murphy, Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Rudy Tomjanovich, Clyde Drexler, and Yao Ming.

Do you think Harden has earned the honor?

james harden number 13

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