Although James Harden’s 2014-15 season ended without a championship or MVP award, he still had one of the best years in recent memory, averaging 27 points, five rebounds, and seven assists per game while leading the Rockets to second place in the Western Conference.
With a dominant season, finishing second in MVP voting, and a new $200 million deal with Adidas that just kicked in this October, Harden has cemented himself as one of the NBA’s biggest stars.
This is apparently what Harden always envisioned, however.
In a profile of Harden for ESPN, Pablo S. Torre says that Harden predicted he would be a star when he was just 12 years old, in a note he wrote to his mother. It read:
“Could u wake me up at 7:00?
“And could u leave me a couple of dollars?
“P.S. Keep this paper. Imma be a star.”
Torre notes that Harden left his autograph between the second and third lines.
SI’s Lee Jenkins also mentioned this same note in a profile he wrote on Harden last season. Jenkins says that Harden’s mother keeps the note and has brought it with her in each house she’s lived in since raising Harden in California to following him to Houston.
Harden’s turn as a star has taken some time, of course. Jenkins wrote that Harden’s high school coach had to help develop Harden into the player he is today. One such method involved persuading Harden to get to the free throw line by offering him cheeseburgers for every six free throws he took in a game.
Harden also caught a break when the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t offer him a max. contract, instead trading him to the Houston Rockets where he’s become of the league’s best scorers and playmakers.
Nonetheless, Harden had confidence that everything would break just right, and he’s been proven correct.