Some people have the innate ability to make people dislike them no matter how great they are at whatever it is they do. James Harden is one of those personalities in the NBA. Harden isn’t necessarily a bad guy, but for some reason, many fans and even other players don’t really jive with him.
Harden’s style of play has been at the center of this hate since his days in Houston. His slow, lumbering style, drawing 37 fouls per game, hasn’t been very digestible for most NBA fans. That’s changed a bit this year since the league’s officials are calling games differently where contact is concerned, but still, everybody loves to hate James.
Beefing with Giannis Antetokounmpo a couple of years ago didn’t help Harden’s image with basketball fans. Giannis is like the sweetheart of the Association, and everybody loves him. Whether you believe he’s the best player in the world is irrelevant in this conversation. It’s hard to find anyone that will outwardly say they can’t stand the Greek Freak. On the other hand, Harden has many detractors, and they aren’t shy about expressing their disdain for Harden and his beard.
But I’m entirely convinced that things took a turn for the worse for Harden’s relationship with the outside world (basically social media) when he joined the Kardashian clan a few years back. James and Khloe didn’t last long, but his name attached to one of the most polarizing families of
the 21st century surely didn’t help him in the popularity department.
Clearly, Harden invites a lot of criticism just by being himself, which in a way, should be admired since he’s being authentic to his brand. But then again…this is James Harden we’re talking about, and he just does things that leave people scratching their heads. Like when Harden chose the strip club (his favorite pastime), Lil Baby, and Honey Buns over training camp during the pandemic heading into the 2020-21 season while still a Houston Rocket.
Now Nets fans have turned against Harden as well. Primarily because of his over-dribbling and not being the dynamic scorer, as he was in Houston. Fans are passionate (sometimes overly), so I get it, but to hate Harden just seems like it comes naturally for many. Short of bringing an NBA championship to Brooklyn, I don’t see James jumping on the good side of most fans, whether they reside in BK or not, anytime soon. I’d be willing to bet he’d be even more hated after winning a title even by so-called Nets fans (they don’t have any). Ugh... keep doing you, James, keep doing you.