HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden is ready. For the music, the weather, the restaurants. And, yes, he’ll work in some basketball as well. Harden will make his NBA All-Star debut when the game and its weekend of festivities come to Houston Feb. 15-17.
In his first season with the Houston Rockets after an October trade from Oklahoma City, Harden has taken to the nation’s fourth-largest city. And for those planning a trip to the game, he’s set to play travel agent — where to stay, what to eat, things to do.
“There’s so much you can do,” he said.
There’s also the throngs of rappers who will descend on the city for a weekend that has become known as much for big-name rap shows and parties as it is for basketball.
“I’m looking forward to seeing everybody from the legends like Jay-Z and Kanye West and Rick Ross, to the newer, young guys like Meek Mill and Wiz Khalifa and even Trinidad James,” he said.
The Sunday night game at the Toyota Center ends a weekend of events on the court. “Just to see all the newer guys like myself and all the other first-time All-Stars should be really fun,” said Harden.
After games, Harden often makes the half-mile trip to one of his favorite Houston
restaurants, Vic and Anthony’s Steakhouse.
He loves the ease and convenience of living downtown and suggests fans traveling to the game find a hotel in the area.
One of Harden’s favorite activities in Houston is shopping at the Galleria, the sprawling mall about eight miles from downtown.
Hip-hop fans will have no shortage of things to do at night during All-Star weekend.
Harden, who was last season’s Sixth Man of the Year and won an Olympic gold medal with the U.S. team in London, likes that the event brings rappers and athletes together.