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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Sports

Charity weekend a success for Rockets’ star


Rockets super star James Harden was joined by many celebrities and NBA superstars this weekend, including his new teammate Chris Paul. | Frank Campos/The Cougar

NBA superstar James Harden gave back to the community Aug. 18-21 by hosting the first annual JH-Town Weekend at Tudor Fieldhouse which featured three days of charity, basketball and fellowship.

Harden kicked off the weekend Friday by delivering 150 school supply-filled backpacks to Houston-area kids followed by a star-studded celebrity basketball tournament Saturday and Sunday.

“I don’t want (the kids) to look at me as a superstar athlete,” Harden said before the event. “I want them to see me as someone that they can relate to, because when I was their age I was in a Boys & Girls Club as well. The motivation is giving out dreams, not just being a professional athlete. Anything in the world that you put your mind to, go out there and achieve it. Don’t let nobody stop you.”

Celebrities and athletes flocked to Houston to participate in the festivities. The four-team tournament featured current and former NBA players including Chris Paul, John Wall, Demar Derozan and Clint Capela. Celebrities in attendance featured rappers Slim Thug, Travis Scott and Meek Mill.

All proceeds generated during JH-Town Weekend will be donated to 3 The Harden Way, a non-profit charity dedicated to bridging economic and educational gaps in the Houston area.

City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner declared Aug. 20 “James Harden Day” and presented Harden with a proclamation to commend the star’s efforts in the Bayou City.

Harden, the NBA’s highest paid player after signing a four-year $228 million contract extension July 8, capped off the weekend with a $100,000 donation to Texas Southern University. Texas Southern University President Austin Lane said the funds will be used to help students from low-income families make education more attainable.

“I’m blessed. Obviously I’m fortunate,” Harden said. “I’ve been in Houston for five years and this is my opportunity to put my footstep on it  not just in basketball, but in the community. I’ve always been about the community, I’ve always been about people, spreading love and joy. So this is an opportunity for an entire weekend to touch the city and make sure they feel me and I feel them a little bit.”

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