76ers Star James Harden Helps Paralyzed Michigan State Shooting Victim.
After hearing that one of his biggest followers had been paralyzed in the terrible shooting at Michigan State a few weeks ago, Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden acted swiftly to show his support.
John Hao, one of the people shot at Michigan State who was also left paralyzed from the waist down, is still in a Michigan hospital where he is healing.
Harden FaceTimed Hao and sent the 20-year-old student a variety of different pairs of sneakers, including some worn in a game, in an effort to inspire and “brighten John’s day, even if it was just for one minute.”
“Everything will work itself out, be strong,” Harden said to Hao. “You’re alright. You’ll be alright. I promise you are … I love when you’re smiling, alright? I’m with you. I know it’s tough right now but you have to stay physically strong, you know what I mean? You gotta just think positive things and keep pushing and keep fighting.”
Three students were killed and five others were critically injured, including Hao, when a single shooter allegedly opened fire at two locations on Michigan State’s campus earlier this month. Later that same evening, the alleged shooter committed suicide. It happened to be the 67th mass shooting in the United States this year alone; which lead MSU leadership to cancel classes in wake of this tragedy.
Tom Izzo, the head basketball coach at Michigan State almost three decades, spoke at a candlelight vigil a few days later. Izzo, who has been with the program for 28 years now, recently watched his daughter receive her degree. His son Steven, a basketball walk-on, was on campus the night of the massacre.
Visibly upset and in distraught, Izzo told the crowd,
“Steven was at one of the buildings two nights ago about 10 minutes after things happened,” Izzo said. “So sometimes we don’t understand because we haven’t been through it. That little moment brought me a little closer to understanding … Our hearts are heavy. Our loss has been great. Our lives have been permanently changed. With a shared commitment to help each other and a promise to remember those we have lost, we will find joy again.”
At the vigil, Izzo also called for gun regulation, as have many other athletes in recent years.
“I think everybody spoke that something has to be done in our society,” Izzo stated. “Gun violence is insane right now. We all have a platform. Some are small, some are high. But we all have a platform. I hope each and every one of you use your platform to help others so other families don’t have to go through what these families are going through right now.”
Even though Hao was left crippled and still has a long way to go before he can fully recover, the gesture that Harden made was very much appreciated by him and his family, during what has otherwise been an extremely challenging time for them and their community.