There’s no debate that James Harden’s departure from Houston was less than ideal. He threw a tantrum similar to that of a three-year-old toddler in a grocery store before he was traded to Brooklyn.
But no matter how Harden left the city, his final days in Houston don’t define his whole tenure there. It’s clear the superstar still has love for the place that helped turn him into a future Hall of Famer.
It was reported on Sunday night that Harden had donated 3,000 meals to people in Houston impacted by the severe cold that hit Texas this past week. The whole state has experienced power outages and food shortages since historic levels of snow and below-freezing temperatures destroyed infrastructure in the state.
In a postgame press conference on Sunday, Harden says that he is constantly making calls to people in the city to more effectively help those who have been affected.
Earlier this month, Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors went on an impassioned rant about how players are vilified once they say they want to be traded, highlighting inconsistencies in the way organizations and fans treat those players. And there were certainly many in Houston who viewed Harden differently because of his repeated requests to leave, and they continued to prove Green’s point.
Yet, as Green emphasized, these players also have a humanity that shouldn’t be ignored. The same humanity that says “I deserve to be happy,” when asking for a trade, also says “I must help people” through a crisis.
I’m not saying it’s okay how Harden navigated his departure from Houston. But I do support his decision to want out of an organization if he so pleases. Too often we hold athletes to robotic standards, and when one tries to break the form, we crush them.
You can’t criticize Harden for wanting to explore his happiness and stay quiet about his selflessness toward average Texans facing a life-or-death situation.
Good on Harden for trying to help the Houston community.