Michigan State Shooting Victim Meets NBA All-Star
The Michigan State shooting that happened in February is still fresh on everyone's minds, but the Sunday night Game 4 between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers brought about positive reinforcement on the recovery and strength of one of its victims.
John Hao, a student at Michigan State who was injured in the shooting, was in attendance to watch his favorite player, James Harden. Harden didn't disappoint, dropping 42 points on the Celtics and tying the series at two games a piece.
What happened after Harden sealed the game in overtime is what caught the attention of the nation. Harden immediately called over Hao to share in the celebration and handed over a signed pair of the shoes that helped carry the 76ers to victory.
Off the court, Harden continued to offer support to Hao and expressed that he should return for Game 6 in the series.
"We talked about it last time, every day, right, it's an opportunity to get better," Harden said. "Mentally, physically, all that, so just keep the right mindset. You know I'm always praying for you and I always got you if you need me."
Harden and Hao had developed a relationship in the wake of the shooting. Harden learned that Hao was a fan and in return sent memorabilia and money to Hao as well as a video call of encouragement. Harden promised to get Hao to a game as soon as he was able to travel during his rehabilitation.
Hao is a 20-year-old international student, though, with more treatment needed as he recovers, he told AP News he's not sure what's next. While he was committed to graduating from Michigan State, moving back to China with his parents is a possibility.
“I hope to get back to my normal life and rehab as soon as possible,” he told the AP.
Harden called Hao a good luck charm. Harden struggled in the previous two games in the series going 5-28 from the field. To drop 42 points and take the game in overtime with a three-point shot, Harden may be onto something.
It's no doubt inspiring to see one of the NBA's greatest players be inspired in such a manner.
If you would like to donate to Hao's recovery fund, a link to his gofundme is provided below.