James Harden may have finished second in the NBA MVP voting last season, but he’s certainly the Houston Rockets’ MVP, both on and off the court.
He proved that further on Saturday, when he announced that he will donate $1 million of his own money towards helping those affected by the tragic Hurricane Harvey.
After signing an extension that guarantees him $228 million through the 2022-2023 season, the dynamic superstar explained that he may have grown up in California, but Houston is now his home.
"This is home for me," Harden told reporters, per KPRC-TV's Adam Wexler. "I wanted to say thank you to J.J. Watt, what he's doing for the city. Thank you to the mayor, for helping me. I just want to donate and give back to the community as much as I can, so I'm going to donate $1 million to the city and to areas that need it and to people that need it to make the city stronger."
He made the announcement with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Harden’s generous donation comes after Rockets owner Les Alexander upped his donation from $4 to $10 million.
Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon also donated, pledging $150,000 towards the hurricane relief efforts.
"I am heartbroken to see the devastation and loss caused by Hurricane Harvey," Olajuwon said in a statement. The people of Houston are in my thoughts and prayers as they work to rebuild their lives and communities. There is so much to be done and I hope that my contribution can help make a difference in the lives of my fellow Houstonians.”
Over the years, Harden has proved to be an extremely active member of the community in addition to starring on the court. Alexander made sure to explain that in an official team statement after Harden signed his extension earlier this summer.
"Since he arrived in Houston, James has exhibited the incredible work ethic, desire to win, and passion to be the best that has made him one of the most unique and talented superstars in the history of the game," the owner remarked. "Additionally, the commitment he has shown to our organization, the City of Houston, and Rockets fans all over the world makes him a perfect leader in our pursuit of another championship.”
Harden averaged an amazing 29.1 points, led the league with 11.2 assists and also brought down 8.1 rebounds in what was an amazing individual campaign last year. Alongside newcomer Chris Paul, Harden should spearhead one of the NBA’s top offenses yet again this season.
As seen with his generous gift, Houston fans have a lot to love Harden for, both as a player and as a person.