Although he had a messy divorce from the Houston Rockets, James Harden’s heart remains with the city. Residents of Houston are dealing with the aftermath of a brutal winter storm that left thousands without power and water for days. And as the city tries to recover, Houston now faces another crisis.
Due to no power, grocery store associates had to empty their shelves and freezers upon their return — causing a significant food shortage within the city. And similar to his performances inside the Toyota Center for eight years, Houston’s struggles gave Harden another chance to rise to the occasion for the city.
Over the weekend, Harden donated 3,000 meals through his new restaurant, Thirteen. He made an announcement on his Instagram account, giving residents the option to pick up the food in-person or have it delivered. The donations were made possible by Harden and The Relief Gang.
Harden’s food donation was his latest attempt to help his former city in dire need. On Thursday, the NBA’s current assist leader (11.3 AST) took to social media to share information about a water giveaway on Almeda Road.
After the blockbuster trade that sent him to the Brooklyn Nets on Jan. 14, Harden wrote in an Instagram post that he gave his mind, body and soul in hopes of bringing the glory to the city. He acknowledged that he fell short of bringing a championship title to Houston. But Harden brought more glory to Houston through his humanitarian efforts than the value of one Larry O’Brien trophy.
In 2017, Harden pledged $1 million to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. In 2019, he donated more than $240,000 to help Houston renovate outdoor basketball courts during his JH-Town Weekend. And in 2020, he donated groceries to 5,000 families in need across the Greater Houston area.
After spending three years in Oklahoma City, Harden became a Houstonian in October of 2012. The Rockets acquired Harden in a trade from the Thunder, where he became an eight-time All-Star, a three-time scoring champion, and league MVP during the 2017-18 season. During his eight-year tenure in Houston, Harden averaged 29.6 points, 7.7 assists and 6.0 rebounds across 621 games with the Rockets.