James Harden did not depart from the Rockets on the best of terms. After years of trying, and failing, to bring a championship to Houston, the Beard demanded a trade in a rather dramatic showing of disloyalty by partying at strip clubs and openly dissing his team (and teammates) in front of the media.
Still, the franchise intends to cement his legacy in their history. According to what Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta told Jonathan Feigen, the Rockets will be retiring Harden’s No. 13 jersey.
“James Harden will always be a Rocket,” said Fertitta. “Of course, we will retire his jersey. He made my first three years of owning this franchise unforgettable. The success he brought this franchise over eight years and the memories he created for our fan base/community [are] truly remarkable.”
Through Harden’s 9 seasons with H-Town, he made history as one of basketball’s best players and all-time scorers. He averaged 29.6 points, 6 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game on 44% shooting.
And while the Rockets didn’t see much postseason success under Harden’s leadership, he led them through an era of excitement and relevance they hadn’t seen in years — and, love him or hate him, the Beard deserves to be celebrated for it.
It will be quite the day when they hang that No. 13 in the rafters.