Mercedes’ James Harden makes history in Sochi Olympics
Mercedes’ Olympic medal winner James Harden, the No. 2 player in the NBA draft, has become the first black player to represent Russia at the Olympics.
Harden, a 6-foot-10 center who plays for the Houston Rockets, is the first player from a country that has never hosted an Olympic Games to represent his country at the Games, said Russia’s team physician and IOC official Yevgeny Zagov.
The IOC is expected to vote on a selection committee of the country’s Olympic athletes in the coming days, and Harden will join the list.
Zagov said Harden will have an immediate impact for Russia, as the team will play at the Olympic Training Center in Sochi, Russia, which has hosted the Games since 1996.
“This is the perfect moment to show our country what we can do, said Harden.
We’re ready for the games.
We’ve been training hard.
I’m confident we’ll do well.”
The IOC has made strides in the past decade to recognize diversity in the Olympics, and Russia has already won four gold medals at the Beijing Games.
The country has also had a long and successful track record of hosting Olympic events, with two Olympic gold medals in the 1980s and four in the 2000s.
Harden is the only player in NBA history to have two NBA seasons with at least one 100-point game.
In 2012-13, Harden led the Rockets to their first NBA title and became the first NBA player to have 2,000 points and 50 assists in the same season.
He also won the league MVP award in 2014 and 2016, and was named to the All-NBA First Team in 2018.