Jason Smith: “Harden is coming back to town and Rockets fans are upset. James Harden was basically able to quit on the team, then throw his team under the bus, then bully his way out of town, and now they have to watch him succeed with the Nets which is tough… You have an upset fan base, and then Tilman Fertitta, the Rockets owner, in an email with the Houston Chronicle said ‘at the end of James Harden’s career, we’re going to retire his number 13.’ I understand you want to honor one of your all-time greats who was there for eight years and became one of the best players in the NBA, but there’s a time and place. Everybody is still so mad at this guy. They’re mad at the team for letting him go, mad that they didn’t make a trade that allowed for them to win, the team stinks, and this guy basically just quit on you, forced his way out by bullying you into trading him, and trading him to a great team. And THIS is when you decide to say you’re going to retire his jersey?? This is not the time to say that… The guy was a jerk and forced his way out of town… The worst thing you can do is say that you’re going to 'celebrate' this guy now. Everybody is so mad and they can’t stand James Harden. Stop trying to tell me that everything was so great, the wound is still really raw. I look at Tilman Fertitta and go ‘this guy really knows how to alienate stars and alienate a fan base.’” (Full Audio Above)
Listen to Jason Smith explain why he thinks Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is alienating Rockets fans for saying this week that the Rockets will retire Harden’s jersey at some point in the future.
Harden will return to Houston on Wednesday night to face his old team, as both teams have taken polar opposite paths since his trade to Brooklyn on January 14th.
The Nets have emerged as perhaps the NBA’s best team with Harden’s dominance, and the Rockets quite possibly the worst, having lost 12 straight games.
Check out the audio above as Smith details why the timing of Fertitta's comments couldn’t have been more cringeworthy for Rockets fans who are probably still livid that Harden effectively ‘quit’ on the team, and bullied his way out of town and into a much better situation.