Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Daryl Morey made a surprising decision this week to step down as general manager of the Houston Rockets, and he is thanking fans and one specific superstar player on his way out the door.

Morey took out a full-page newspaper ad on Sunday in which he reflected on his time with the franchise. The ad featured a photo of Morey and James Harden, and Morey wrote that Harden “changed my life.”

“James Harden changed my life. An entire page could be dedicated to James. He not only transformed my life but he also revolutionized the game of basketball – and continues to do so – like almost no one has before,” Morey wrote. “The game is played differently because of James, and on every playground in the world, the next generation of talent is studying and imitating his game. I can’t believe I won’t be able to have another strategy session with James. I loved working together on how to get his incredible Hall of Fame teammates Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook to the Rockets. I will be rooting for James to win a championship for Houston. It’s how this story should end.”

The circumstances surrounding Morey’s exit from the Rockets are somewhat unusual. There had been talk about him potentially being fired after he sent a tweet expressing support for protestors in Hong Kong last year. China’s communist government was furious that Morey supported the pro-democracy movement, which put the NBA in an uncomfortable position. The NBA makes billions of dollars from China.

Houston reached the postseason eight straight years under Morey, which is the longest streak in the NBA. He had been with the team since the 2007-08 season. Despite that success, there have been hints that he may explore a career outside the NBA.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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