(NEW YORK) — Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden gave a much-needed morale boost to John Hao, a 20-year-old Michigan State student who was paralyzed from the chest down after the deadly shooting on campus earlier this month.
After Harden read about Hao, who is a huge fan, he knew he wanted to help.
The star point guard surprised Hao, who is getting care in the hospital, with a FaceTime call.
“Everything will work itself out. Be strong. You’re alright, you’ll be alright. I promise you are,” Harden told Hao. “I got you. I love when you’re smiling too … I’m with you.”
“I know it’s tough right now but you gotta stay physically strong you know what I mean? You just gotta just think positive things and keep pushing and keep fighting. I got you,” Harden went on.
He then had another surprise for Hao.
“I got some gifts for you too,” Harden said. “I got some things coming your way [to] hopefully give you some encouragement, make you smile.”
Harden sent Hao sneakers, including one pair that was worn in a game.
Harden also contributed to Hao’s GoFundMe page, which was set up to help pay his medical bills, which total $366,000.
“Let me know if you need anything else, I got you,” Harden said at the end of their call, giving Hao his personal cellphone number.
Harden told ESPN that he wanted to brighten Hao’s day even if it was just for one minute.
He also spoke to reporters about the interaction after the 76ers won on Thursday night.
“There’s things like that, where you sit back and think about just real life and things bigger than basketball,” Harden said. “I heard that he was a fan of mine, so I wanted to get up on that ASAP and just see what I could do, anything I could do.”
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.