James Harden returned to the Toyota Center to face the Houston Rockets for the first time with the Brooklyn Nets, and as expected, the response was mixed.
After spending eight years as an NBA superstar and perennial MVP candidate with the Houston Rockets, James Harden returned to the Toyota Center as a member of the Brooklyn Nets for the first time Wednesday night.
As expected, his reception was a mix of cheers and boos, fond memories and broken promises.
When the Beard was introduced to the limited-capacity crowd in Houston, he received a mix of cheers and boos, though the boos were obviously easier to decipher.
James Harden received a mixed response in his return to Houston
The conflicted reactions continued once the game started. When Harden touched the ball the first few times, the crowd booed him — as one would expect, given that he’s now the enemy of the franchise he gave so much to over the years. One fan went as far as directly calling him out, saying that he quit on the Rockets:
However, it wasn’t all negative either. The Rockets put together a touching tribute video that played during the first timeout, showing highlights of not only his stellar work on the court, but his endeavors to improve the community in Houston off the court as well.
Harden seemed to appreciate the video and the ovation that came with it, and some fans were in a more jovial, understanding mood with the Beard back in town:
All in all, Rockets fans’ reactions to Harden’s return seemed just about right: a mix of boos to voice their disappointment in how he manufactured his trade out of Houston, but also plenty of cheers in appreciation of what he was able to accomplish for the franchise and the larger community during his time there.