Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey signed Chance “CJ” Smith, 10, to a one-game contract in partnership with the Make-A-Wish foundation.
A year ago, Smith was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma, a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in which cancer starts in immune cells called B-cells.
As a huge fan of the Rockets, CJ wanted to be apart of the team and requested to wear the No. 13 because his favorite player is James Harden.
On Tuesday, the 10-year-old attended practice with the NBA team and got a chance to shooting around with his idols including Chris Paul.
“It’s big-time,” Harden said. “I’m going to shoot with him and see how great his game is, see how he can contribute to tomorrow night’s game and help us.”
The following night, Smith was introduced as a player on the Rockets during the pregame against the Washington Wizards. The child and his dad also sat courtside to watch the game.
The Rockets took home the victory 136 to 118.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.