The Time James Harden TRASH TALKED Kobe Bryant In The NBA (Ft. Lunch, Games, Sad Boi Hours)
James Harden trash talked Kobe Bryant in the NBA, but obviously there’s more to it than that.
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The NBA suspension really got Twitter watching Andre Miller highlights. (Ayoooo that ain’t it). The Weeknd’s album came out during this quarantine and got me empathizing with people I haven’t even met yet.
So to start, we’re going to go back to a random Drew League game in 2011. Except Kobe Bryant and James Harden pulled up. Players couldn’t access any of the team facilities so no practice or team trainers, but out of that, we saw Kevin Durant and LeBron go at it. It was a drought of NBA basketball. So in August 2011, Kobe’s coming off a platelet-rich plasma therapy procedure on his right knee and here he is in this gym facing off against Harden.
And then the season would eventually start. And the season was pretty good. The Thunder with Durant, Westbrook, and Harden would go on to be the second seed with the Lakers being third. In the shortened lockout season the Thunder had a 47-19 season while the Lakers had a 41-25 record. Kobe averaged 28 points per game and finished 4th in MVP voting while Harden had his breakout season averaging 16.8 points and winning 6th man of the year. Their first meeting of the year was definitely hyped and was a good game. There was physicality throughout.
Kobe bumps Harden to the ground, pump fakes Durant and Ibaka, draws the foul. Harden was a little irritated which was an accumulation of all the physicality throughout the game. Harden makes a three after the rebound and starts talking to Kobe. Kobe gets the ball in the post and fades with Harden right on him. It doesn’t make the rim and Harden starts talking his trash. Kobe sorta just looks at him, Metta World Peace formlerly Ron Artest, gets in between. Harden wanted some payback which he was getting. Ibaka blocks Kobe after Kobe moves Harden out of the way and both of them start talking to each other again. Durant gets in there and starts talking back. It’s this weird light hearted slash serious look on their faces. It was this sort of look of nah you don’t mean that. Of course we won’t know what was said until one of them says it, but this went on for minutes. The Thunder end up winning, but this saga didn’t end up there. After the game, Kobe didn’t disclose what they were talking about, but said “Maybe one day they’ll be able to sit at my lunch table.”
Derek Fisher was traded to the Thunder, Durant started 0 of 8 from the field. Kobe shot 7 of 25 for 23 points and 9 boards, Harden had 9 points on 3 of 11 from the field. Russ had 36 and 6 and paced the Thunder throughout the game. Nothing really happened between Harden and Kobe, the Thunder ended up winning and we go move on to April 22nd in which Harden against would be a main topic, but not related to Kobe. Harden was playing well in the first half, scoring 14 points in 13 minutes of playing time. Metta World Peace dunks on Durant and Ibaka and then bam, elbows Harden in the back of the head. Harden would go to the locker room, World Peace got ejected and the game continued to be a double overtime win for the Lakers with Kobe dropped 26, 9, and 8 and some key 3 pointers in the 4th quarter to keep the Lakers alive.
Calling him one of his young boys seemed like Kobe had sorta of taken Harden under his wing, right? I mean Harden values skill a lot right, especially with Giannis.
The Thunder and Lakers would meet in the second round of the playoffs that year and hands down the Thunder were the better team, but Harden was kinda neutralized. He averaged 16 points in 5 games but shot 36% from the field while Kobe averaged 31 points a game.
Harden later said on the Dan Patrick show that Kobe called Harden too young to guard him, but Harden also said it’s all fun and games because they also have the same agent. Not sure how much of that is true, but it never felt like a real rivalry.
The funny thing is that after Kobe retired and was in an interview with Tracy McGrady. When asked about Harden last year in February of 2019, this is what they said. This isn’t one of those enemy, rivalry stories, it’s a snapshot into the past of a young shooting guard jawing with one of the best of all time that would mold him into the player he is today, an MVP and one of the best scorers of all time and no I’m not talking about Kobe and MJ. But what do you think? Will Harden win a championship? What’s your top 5 shooting guards of all time?