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Basketball

The James Harden Drama

Alright. I’ve spent a lot of my time biting my tongue when it comes to James Harden. Those of you who know me, know that I’m far from his biggest fan. I can respect what he does on the court (to an extent) but for the most part, I think he is overrated as a player and has a bad personality to boot. What do I mean by that? I mean he is a blamer. Nothing is ever his fault or his problem, it’s always someone else or something else. He takes no accountability and that is why, I think, he will never be a true superstar in this league, regardless of if he ever gets a ring (or how many of them he gets). His actions today have just cemented that for me and honestly, have left me pretty angry.

If you haven’t heard, Harden was due to report to the Rockets training camp today. He was notably absent. There are no excuses for this. Even if there was some horrible family emergency, you need to inform the team so they know what is happening. They aren’t heartless and neither am I. If there was something going on that is bigger than basketball, I would certainly understand. I’m sure the Rockets would as well. But, I’m not giving Harden that benefit of the doubt.

Over the week Harden has been seen partying in Atlanta with Lil’ Baby. He spent the weekend in Las Vegas. He is also been spotted at a few strip clubs, which he is known to be a fan of. I’m not judging and in his spare time he is free to do as he wishes, but it doesn’t seem like there is a tragic family event or anything that is happening. He’s just being an irresponsible moron. And that’s not even mentioning his numerous breaches of the COVID protocol.

So basically, Harden is missing from his job. Only he has the real answer for why, but you can assume it is to try and force the Rockets hand and make them trade him. He has let down his new coach, his new teammates, his old teammates, his city and most disappointingly of all, his fans. None of the aforementioned list has any idea why he didn’t turn up. John Wall, a recent acquisition to the Rockets said they had spoke and he was under the impression that Harden would be there and the 2 of them would be playing together in Houston this season. Well, that’s not off to a good start.

I can understand that a player can be unhappy in a certain team or environment. I get that. I have no problems with a player speaking with management and requesting a trade. I don’t even mind if they request a destination, like Brooklyn for example. Fine. You can make a REQUEST, but that doesn’t mean it has to happen. You have signed and agreed to a contract. You are being paid a lot of money to play the greatest sport on earth. You are one of the luckiest individuals in the world. The very least you can do is be a professional about it.

I’ve certainly been unhappy in jobs before. I’ve requested transfers. I’ve applied for different jobs. Throughout all of that though, I remained a professional. This was for 2 reasons. The first is a matter of personal pride. I pride myself on being professional and courteous. Even if I am unhappy, I will still perform my duties, just as I agreed to initially. I made a contract and I will keep my end of it.

The second is a fear of consequence. I could be fired and have no job, therefore no money. Not to mention that, but my reputation would be ruined. No one would hire me again. Not after skipping out on work and having a bad attitude problem. If I behaved as unprofessionally as Harden, I’d be finished.

I think it’s only fair that Harden should find himself in a similar scenario. I’m not just singling Harden out here, it should be the same for anyone in the NBA acting in an unprofessional manner. You want to skip work? Fine, kiss your money goodbye. Why should Houston have to pay him if he isn’t there? Also, kiss working in the NBA goodbye. Why should other teams trust him? Unfortunately, with a player of Harden’s talent, someone will always give it a shot. If it was up to me, he’d be suspended for a year. Or two. That’s how long is left on his contract. So kick him out for 2 years and he gets no money. Contract voided. You can tryout for a team in 2022-23.

I know it sounds harsh, but there needs to be consequences when things like this happen. I’m all for the rights of players. And for franchises having loyalty to players. I wrote an article about it not too long ago. It works both ways though. The loyalty and respect needs to extend from both parties. As it currently stands, there has been no punishment for Harden. Not from Houston and not from the league. Not even in regards to his blatant breach of the COVID protocol. Something tells me that if this was a lesser known player, he’d be in the sin bin already.

At the end of the day, I’m angry and I’m disappointed. I’m angry for a lot of people. It was in the 2019 season that Harden signed a 4 year deal with Houston, for over $170 million dollars. The final year is a player option, which means Harden only has 2 seasons left. One of those is a shortened season. It is so unprofessional of him to skip training and behave like this. You made a commitment to Houston. You made a commitment to your teammates. You made a commitment to your fans. And on top of all of that, you are being paid a heck of a lot of money to play basketball. You are very blessed man and your behaviour is pathetic.

The NBA needs to step in and do something about this. It sets a bad precedent for the league. Again, I’m not singling out Harden. He isn’t the first player to behave like this, but unless the league does something, he won’t be the last.

As for James Harden, you need to take a good look at yourself. The little amount of respect that I had for you is gone.

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