(Photograph: Twitter/James Harden)
James Harden may have signed an $80 million contract with the Houston Rockets on October 31 to the shock of many of his fans and peers, but now the 23-year-old guard is revealing that he only had one hour to make the decision and wished he had time to pray about it.
Harden was named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year when he became a Western Conference Finals Champion with his Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2011-2012 season, but some were confused about his reasoning for signing with the Rockets most recently. While the increased pay seemed to be one reason for his big move, Harden insisted that he was under a lot of pressure to make his decision with only an hour to do so.
"After everything we established – everything we had done – you give me an hour?" Harden recalled about his feelings in a recent Yahoo! Sports report. "This was one of the biggest decisions of my life. I wanted to go home and pray about it. It hurt me. It hurt."
While some fans took to Twitter to question the loyalty of the young guard, Harden insisted that he has proven his loyalty to the Oklahoma City Thunder organization.
"Everybody has their own opinion about me [as a role player and focus of a team]. I can do both: I'm versatile. Growing up in college, in high school, I was the focal point," Harden explained. "I was the leader. I was the go-to guy. I was the third overall pick. I took a back seat and did whatever it took for the team to win. Some nights I scored, some nights I passed. Whatever was needed to win."
Despite the criticisms and being traded to a new team, Harden made sure to thank God for his new situation.
"I just want to thank God for everything he has done in my life. I really am a believer," Harden tweeted after his Rockets debut where he scored 37 points, 12 assists, six rebounds, four steals and a block. "All glory to the man above."