James Harden happy to see the likes of Kai Sotto aspire to make it to the NBA
Santino Honasan on Jun 26, 2019 04:39 PM
"We’re taking the NBA not just for the US, but worldwide, and it gives kids, not just Filipino, not just in China, all over the world the confidence ," - James Harden
Houston Rockets star James Harden is more than delighted to see international talents aspire to one day reach the NBA as well.
The seven-time All-Star is currently in the Philippines for the adidas Free to Harden Manila 2019 tour, and was able field some questions from the media, Wednesday morning.
One of the questions that Harden was asked was what he thought of young basketball players like our very own Kai Sotto working hard to make it into the league, and what they needed to do to actually realize their dream.
The 7-foot-2 Sotto, who is currently with Gilas Youth for the FIBA U-19 World Championship in Greece, trained in the United States with the intention of pursuing an NBA career in the near future.
"Amazing, not just Filipino, but international players, there’s so many international players who are making it into the NBA, it’s great," Harden said during the media interviews. "We’re taking the NBA not just for the US, but worldwide, and it gives kids, not just Filipino, not just in China, all over the world the confidence like ‘Look at my Filipino buddy who made it into the NBA. Look at my Chinese buddy who made it into the NBA. I have the confidence, I have the chance and the opportunity to make it. If I work hard, if I focus, if I keep my head right in school and stay in the gym, I can make it to the NBA too!’ so globally, the game of basketball is at another level."
With Harden's steady rise to superstardom all over the world, more and more young hoopers have grown to appreciate Harden's unique style of play. All over the globe, more and more kids have started practicing the stepback jumper or the EuroStep in traffic after seeing Harden execute those moves to perfection.
Harden admits to having also learned those moves from ones who came before him, and hopes to see the next generation of hoops stars also take those moves or create their own moves and make them even better.
"Honestly, it feels great. Those moves, I learned them from someone. I watched Dwyane Wade, Manu [Ginobili], as far as the EuroStep, Paul Pierce had a crazy stepback, so I watched those guys and I learned, and I just studied and I tried to figure out ways to do those moves and be better at them, take those moves to another level, that’s what I’ve done, especially for the stepback."
"Hopefully, these kids, they’re studying and watching the game of basketball and they’re finding was to be better and hopefully they’ll take those moves or create different moves and take their basketball game to another level," he added.
Speaking of confidence, "The Beard" touched on seeing kids having confidence in their game as somewhat a motivating factor. He shared a story of a kid that he met in his most recent trip China that showed an impressive level of confidence at such a young age.
"Back when I was in China, I seen this little kid, who was maybe 7 years old, and he could shoot the ball and he had so much confidence. He hit a couple of shots in a row in front of like 5,000 people in an arena, and I was like ‘You know what, let’s see you make another shot, you can have my shoes.’ and he was like ‘Alright!’, and just shot it with so much confidence, and when he made it, it was like he knew he was going to make it already."
"That’s what I love to see, that motivates me to continue to go out there and do it at a high level because you got kids that really follow and pay attention to what you’re doing and your every move, so that keeps me going," Harden continued.