Harden appreciates mom by his side

Harden appreciates mom by his side
February 2, 2013, 4:15 pm
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James Harden spent his off day on Thursday traveling around the city of Houston, playing games with fans, signing autographs and shaking hands.

And mom was right by his side.

Monja Willis, Harden’s mother, was with her son during the events as she has been throughout her 23-year-old son’s life. And Harden has never taken that for granted.

“It means a lot. She’s been there,” Harden said when asked what it means to share his newfound All-Star success with his mother. “Every single game. When I little and I wasn’t really playing a lot to where I’m at. I just thank her for being there throughout it all.”

Harden will play in his first All-Star game in February. The Rockets’ star is averaging 25.9 points per game with Houston, after being traded from Oklahoma City, where he came off the bench.

Willis raised Harden, who has two much older siblings, as a single mother while Harden’s father, James, was in and out of prison. Harden grew up in Rancho Dominguez, a suburb outside of Compton, Calif.

“Inspiration. She motivated me as a young one to be where I’m at today,” Harden said. “Just working three jobs and just the passion she had to want to be successful. That pushes me everyday to want to give back and help other people and be better as a person and as a basketball player.”