Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden holds a unique place in NBA lore.
Talent-wise, few have been able to accomplish what Harden has been able to over the course of his storied hoops career. His gifts are incredible.
Unfortunately, Harden also comes with his fair share of baggage.
This week his former teammate Iman Shumpert went off on Harden during a fascinating interview.
“It’s just something about those big moments, you just wanna feel like your guy is inspired,” said Shumpert. “I feel like in those moments sometimes, with everything going on, all the noise, I feel like James is trying to, more like please the audience than go get it how I know he can go get it.
“I feel that’s what was a little troublesome for him this go-around because he didn’t shoot as much,” Shumpert added about Harden. “In those moments where you come down, you pass it, and they pass it back to you, you kinda get a feel like, ‘They need me to put my cape on.’ … His cape-on moments, he gets more opportunities than anybody I know. You gotta put that cape on. … That’s what I felt watching this s— [during Philly’s playoff run]. ‘Somebody need to curse him out right now. Just curse him out.’”
Shumpert has played alongside Harden twice: once on the 2018-19 Houston Rockets and once on the Brooklyn Nets. He is very familiar with him – both in good and bad ways.
This is becoming something of an emerging pattern for Harden. His teammates really seem to dislike him. Kevin Durant hated him. Kyrie Irving wasn’t a fan either. The Nets as a locker room didn’t have any deep fondness for him.
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 26, 2022
For whatever reason, Harden doesn’t evoke a lot of love from the players that have to be in the trenches with him.
Will he be able to change that at some point before he retires?
Time will tell.