In an interview with Rachel Nichols in February of 2020, then-Houston Rockets guard James Harden made a comment that many perceived to be a shot at Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“I wish I could be 7-feet, run and just dunk,” he said at the time. “That takes no skill at all. I gotta actually learn how to play basketball and how to have skill. I’ll take that any day.”
Although Harden didn’t mention Antetokounmpo by name, his comment came after Nichols cited a joke by the Bucks star about taking then-Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker over Harden in the All-Star Game draft because he wanted someone who would pass the ball.
Ever since then, it has felt like a legit beef has existed between Antetokounmpo and Harden.
This week, Antetokounmpo attempted to squash the talk of him and Harden having problems.
“First of all, Harden never mentioned my name,” Antetokounmpo said during a recent interview on COSMOTE TV (via Eurohoops).
“I have seen this video, about one year later. I think what he meant was that if he was also a 7-footer, jumped and dunk, it would have been easier for him. I think that the media made it about me. Harden is a great player and when I am on the court against him (with the Bucks) I have to play real hard. He is a Hall of Famer, I have nothing against him.”
Antetokounmpo is a very nice guy. Mind you, after winning his first career title, he immediately turned around and gave Nichols a special gift – and that was at the height of her being a public pariah in the aftermath of the Maria Taylor scandal. So it stands to reason that he wouldn’t want bad blood with anyone, including Harden.
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
That said, it’s very clear that Harden, although he didn’t mention names, was talking about Antetokounmpo in that quote. It’s fine if Antetokounmpo wants to move on, but facts are facts. Harden took a shot at him, and that’s why they had lingering beef.
Where that beef goes from here is anyone’s guess, but if Antetokounmpo’s recent comments are any indication, it looks like it’s getting squashed.