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Houston to retire James Harden's jersey: He 'will always be a Rocket'

Yahoo! Sports logo Yahoo! Sports 3/2/2021 Ryan Young

James Harden may no longer be with the Houston Rockets, but his number is set to live in the rafters at the Toyota Center forever.

The Rockets, owner Tilman Fertitta said on Tuesday, are set to retire Harden’s number later this season.

“James Harden will always be a Rocket,” Fertitta told the Houston Chronicle. “Of course, we will retire his jersey. He made my first three years of owning the franchise unforgettable. The success he brought this franchise over eight years and the memories he created for our fan base/community [are] truly remarkable.”

Harden will be the seventh player in team history to have his number retired by the organization, joining Calvin Murphy, Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Rudy Tomjanovich, Clyde Drexler and Yao Ming. Longtime assistant coach and team executive Carroll Dawson had his initials retired, too.

Harden ‘excited’ to return to Houston on Wednesday

Harden spent just more than eight seasons with the Rockets from 2012-20, where he averaged 29.6 points, 7.7 assists and six rebounds per game. The nine-time All-Star won the league MVP award with the Rockets in 2018, and led them to the playoffs in every season.

He was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets earlier this season after a tumultuous ending in Houston, though will return to take on the Rockets in Texas for the first time since that trade went down on Wednesday.

“Yeah I’m excited just to go back to Houston where I basically had an unbelievable career there,” he said Monday, via Fox 26’s Mark Berman. “They showed me mad love and respect and I’m just excited to be playing in front of those fans. Yeah, I’m pretty excited.”

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