When the Rockets drafted Jalen Green as the number two overall pick in the 2021 draft, the Rockets knew they were getting a potential superstar to take the place of James Harden on the court, and in his year-plus in a Rockets uniform, he has also shown he will be a superstar off the court. Green has improved his scoring (21 points per game) and assists (4 per game) in his second season with the Rockets.
For all that has been said by fans of Harden and people who were soured by his exit, you can never say that Harden didn't give back to his community. From his yearly charity softball game (which he still holds every year in Houston), to his many charity events throughout the holidays, Harden has always prioritized giving back. With the Rockets’ latest win coming against Harden and the 76ers, this is a good time to illustrate how Green is taking up the mantle of franchise player once held by Harden on and off the court.
Jalen Green giving back to the community
Green has repeatedly mentioned how he has felt the support and love from the Houston community from the minute he was drafted. It didn't take long for Green to show how much he appreciated Houston. From signing autographs after games...
Jalen Green signing autographs for #Rockets fans after the game.— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) February 3, 2022
To giving the shoes right off his feet...
Green has made it a point of letting Houston fans know he is a part of the community. That has been the case starting in his rookie season last year and continuing this year. Last Thanksgiving, Green held an event for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston. During this year's Thanksgiving holiday, Green had another event, this time at the Covenant House in Houston, which provides shelter for homeless, abused and abandoned young people ages 18-24.
On Tuesday, Green, the City of Houston and Adidas unveiled a new court at Brewster Park. Here was the Rockets’ press release.
The court, which is located in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward district, features artwork reflecting Houston’s culture and the following components symbolic of Green:
- A peace sign, which is tattooed on Green’s right hand, meant as a reminder that we should all be “at peace” with each other.
- An upward rocket not only a nod to the team’s logo but also signifies purpose, direction, positivity, and rising to pick ourselves up, even when faced with obstacles.
- The colors selected for the court were meant to represent the feelings of warmth and community Green has experienced since being received by the city of Houston.
- The Jalen Green logo was included to speak to the legacy he is working to build with the Rockets and the continued impact he wants to make throughout the Houston community.
Mayor Turner introduced Green, and the Houston Rockets young star spoke about how important his mother has been to him in his journey and even talked about why he chose basketball over football. Then, Green posed for pictures with the children from the Urban Enrichment Institute answered questions and participated in a knockout game with the kids and his teammate Josh Christopher (Jalen would eventually win).
Seeing the kid's faces light up when Green made his way onto the court was great. You can tell how much they appreciated him coming out and helping the community like he has done so many times already. Houston has embraced Green from day one, and he is becoming a star on and off the court.