James Harden said that he will continue to honor to his late friend Nipsey Hussle during a press conference after the Houston Rockets defeated the Utah Jazz. Harden explained his decision to pay respects after a reporter asked about his Nipsey chain.
"He's one of my close friends," Harden told the press. "This journey that I’m on is for him, it's plain and simple."
Nipsey and Harden went to the same middle school in Los Angeles and remained friends after they both became celebrities. The pair were regularly spotted hanging together and the Rockets excused Harden from practice after news of Nipsey's murder surfaced.
"That name will never die. People will remember him," Harden continued. "That name Nip. Everybody knows that name now. I'm just another person helping that name live on."
Harden shared a tribute to Nipsey in the program of his Celebration of Life memorial service. "I miss you, bro!" he wrote. "I'll love you forever and promise I'll ride for you."
Harden isn't the only NBA player who considered Hussle a friend. Russell Westbrook dropped a nearly impossible 20-20-20 stat line shortly after Hussle's death and dedicated the achievement to the late rapper.
"That wasn't for me. That was for my bro. That was for Nipsey. 20 plus 20 plus 20. They know what that means," Russell said after the game, in reference to the Rollin 60's.