Come and See How James Harden is Helping a Michigan State Shooting Survivor Heal. PHILADELPHIA — When 76ers star James Harden actually saw the news that John Hao — a 20-year-old Michigan State student and also a very huge fan of the future Hall of Fame point guard — had simply been paralyzed from the chest down in the tragic shooting on the university’s campus earlier this month, Harden knew he had to take action.
“There’s things like that, where you actually sit back and then think about just real life and also things bigger than basketball,” Harden said after Philadelphia’s 110-105 win over the Memphis Grizzlies at Wells Fargo Center Thursday night, the Sixers’ first game back from the All-Star break. “I heard that he was actually a fan of mine, so I wanted to simply get up on that ASAP and then just see what I could do, anything I could do.”
Harden said members of his team simply heard about Hao’s situation, so a couple of them actually took time and went to visit Hao at Sparrow Hospital, where he just remains after the shooting.
Harden also sent sneakers, including a game-worn pair, donated to Hao’s GoFundMe and even called him on FaceTime to offer him some encouraging words.
See How James Harden is Helping a Michigan State Shooting Survivor Heal
“I love when you are smiling,” Harden said on the call, a video of which was displayed or shown on “NBA Today” on Thursday. “I love when you are smiling, all right? I’m with you. I know it’s kinda difficult or tough right now, but you have to just stay physically strong, you know what I mean? You just have to think positive things and also keep pushing and fighting.
I got you. Also, I got some guys for you, too. I got some good things coming your way, hopefully give you some encouragement and also make you smile a little bit, you know what I mean? Let me know if you actually need anything else.”
The GoFundMe was also started by Hao’s roommate, Argent Qian, to simply help pay for Hao’s medical expenses in the wake of the shooting, which the page said left Hao paralyzed after he was shot in the back.
“John is a beloved member of our Spartan community, also a leader in a student organization, and even a passionate sports enthusiast,” wrote Qian, who added Harden is Hao’s favorite player.
Three students were also killed and five others — including Hao — were actually wounded in the shooting Feb. 13 on Michigan State’s campus.
“The more I can simply encourage and rub off this energy that I have and give him hope, I feel like that is what I’m here for,” Harden said. “And that’s what I have got this platform for. Hopefully he will be able to recover and then bounce back out of that sooner than later, but I gave him my number, so whenever he ever feels like he needs anything he can then call me and I check up on him.”
Harden also had a terrific game Thursday against the Grizzlies, finishing with 31 points, 7 rebounds and also 7 assists to simply help the 76ers come back from as many as 17 down. He passed 76ers legend Allen Iverson for 31st on the NBA’s all-time scoring list in the process.
When also asked about passing Iverson after the game, Harden simply admitted even the idea of making the NBA as a kid was actually nothing more than a “far-fetched dream.” Still, he said having the ability to assist or help someone in Hao’s position is something that means far more to him.
“It’s also bigger than basketball,” Harden said. “This is real life, you know what I mean? This is bigger than basketball. I’m fortunate just to be in a position where I can make an impact on people’s lives. That’s what I really care about. That’s what I value, and that’s what makes me happy, obviously other than basketball, family, things like that. It’s a tragedy. He wasn’t expecting that. There was nothing he could control. That’s the craziest part about it. Anything I can do my part, I’m going to do it.”
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