Rockets News

James Harden Jersey Number Still Sacred in Oklahoma as Waiters Rebuffed

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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James Harden Jersey Number is still holding a special place for management in Oklahoma City evidently.

During tonight’s game in New York side line reporter Rachel Nichols reported that newly acquired Dion Waiters requested number 13.  Waiters was told he couldn’t have that number.  When reporters asked Waiters why he couldn’t have number 13 he said “because of James”.

More from Space City Scoop

Feb 16, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; From left, New Orleans Hornets forward Anthony Davis, and Western Conference guard Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Western Conference forward Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Western Conference guard James Harden of the Houston Rockets watch the 2013 NBA All-Star three-point contest at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Reggie Miller opined it was ridiculous because the number isn’t retired.

Which begs the question; why wouldn’t the Thunder let Dion Waiters have number 13? Generally any jersey number that isn’t currently being worn or doesn’t belong to a previous player who the team intends to retire is open to claim.

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Harden remain close though they no longer play on the same team. When the trade occurred sending Harden to Houston it was said Durant understood the reasons, but was devastated to lose James. Perhaps this is a nod to Durant to keep his friend’s jersey untouched, but to Miller’s point it’s very unusual.

Could Oklahoma City harbor some hope he’ll return one day and want to keep the number available? Are they going to keep the number off limits forever?

I’m thinking it has something to do with the Thunder’s first finals occurred the year prior to James Harden being traded to Houston and perhaps one day they want to raise the five starters jerseys in recognition of that infamous time in franchise history.

Regardless of their reason apparently no one will don number 13 for the Thunder, at least anytime soon.

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