NBA star James Harden surprised Michigan State University (MSU) shooting survivor John Hao in the hospital to offer his support.
Hao, a 20-year-old international MSU student from China, was shot in the back during the East Lansing shooting on Feb. 13, which severed his spinal cord and paralyzed him from the chest down.
Harden, who currently plays for the Philadelphia 76ers, heard Hao’s story and learned he was a fan after encountering a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe for Hao. As of this writing, the fundraising campaign — to which Harden made an undisclosed donation — has raised over $377,000.
The former MVP shooting guard took his support a step further, sending Hao a pair of game-worn sneakers, providing his personal cellphone number and calling him over FaceTime to provide words of encouragement.
Everything will work itself out, be strong. You’re alright, you’re alright. I promise you are. Alright? I love when you’re smiling, too. 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 just got to think positive things and keep pushing and keep fighting. I got you. I got some gifts for you, too. I got some things coming your way, hopefully give you some encouragement and make you smile a little bit, you know what I mean? I’m with you. Let me know if you need anything else. I got you.
🙏 Sixers star James Harden FaceTimed 1 of the Michigan State Students who was shot & paralyzed from the waist down
“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” pic.twitter.com/KWRl6G36wG
— Jeff Skversky (@JeffSkversky) February 24, 2023
After the 76ers’ victory over the Grizzlies on Thursday night, Harden spoke about his call with Hao to reporters:
The more I can encourage and rub off this energy that I have and give him hope, I feel like that’s what I’m here for, and that’s what I’ve got this platform for. Hopefully he can recover and bounce back out of that sooner than later, but I gave him my number, so whenever he ever feels like he needs anything he can call me and I check up on him.
The MSU shooting that paralyzed Hao saw three students killed and five injured.
On Feb. 13, a lone shooter, now identified as Anthony Dwayne McRae, opened fire on the East Lansing campus before killing himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The shooting marked the 67th mass shooting in the U.S. this year and the third in which Chinese individuals were harmed and/or killed.