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76ers player James Harden invited a Michigan State shooting victim to a playoff game

Philadelphia 76ers' James Harden gives his sneakers to John Hao after Game 4 in an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series, Sunday, May 7, 2023, in Philadelphia. Harden invited Hao, a student severely wounded in a Feb. 13 mass shooting at Michigan State University, to view the game.
Matt Slocum
/
AP
Philadelphia 76ers' James Harden gives his sneakers to John Hao after Game 4 in an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series, Sunday, May 7, 2023, in Philadelphia. Harden invited Hao, a student severely wounded in a Feb. 13 mass shooting at Michigan State University, to view the game.

Philadelphia 76ers player James Harden kept his word by inviting Michigan State University shooting victim John Hao to a game, and sealed the deal by giving him a pair of autographed sneakers.

Hao, an international student from China, attends Michigan State University and was paralyzed in February after a gunman on campus shot and killed three people and injured five others.

After learning Hao, 20, was a fan, Harden FaceTimed him and donated money and shoes, and promised to bring him to a game.

On Sunday, Harden, after a 42-point performance in Game 4 of the playoff win against the Boston Celtics, took off his sneakers, signed them and gifted them to Hao, who was sitting on the sidelines.

"You look good," Harden told Hao, and patted him on the shoulder.

Harden also hit the tying shot to send Sunday's game into overtime, and the eventual game winner. On a social media post, Harden asked Hao to return to Philadelphia for Game 6 of the series.

"I don't know what you got going or what your schedule is, but Game 6 you gotta be back here," Harden said. "Because you're the good luck charm."

Hao, 20, has been in physical therapy since the shooting and could attend the game once he was cleared to travel by medical professionals.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]