James Harden clearly did not appreciate the unflattering chatter from Giannis Antetokounmpo related to the All-Star Game, as the Houston Rockets star has now fired back with some vicious shots of his own.
The beef started when Antetokounmpo explained that he passed over Harden to select Kemba Walker for Team Giannis in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game Draft because he wanted a teammate “who can pass.”
Arguably raising Harden’s temperature another few degrees is how Antetokounmpo then said after the All-Star Game that he and his teammates were targeting Harden on defense in the latter stages of the showdown.
Addressing those affronts during an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN — snippets of which were shared Friday — Harden did not hold back.
James Harden addresses the comments Giannis made during the All-Star draft about assists: "I average more assists him than him, I think….I don't see what the joke is."— Aly Khan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) February 28, 2020
Later: "But I wish I could just run and be 7 feet and just dunk." https://t.co/vRKMXpr3Wp pic.twitter.com/ecOzFoDsiQ
“I didn’t even see it,” Harden said of Giannis’ comments about Walker. “I don’t pay attention to stuff like that. I just know none of them can mess with me.”
Harden is indeed correct that he is averaging more assists this season than Walker with 7.3 per game compared to Walker’s 5.0.
In another ruthless shot, though, Harden then noted how he has had to work harder than Antetokounmpo to succeed in the league.
“When it’s all said and done, they will appreciate it more,” Harden said. “But I wish I could just run and be 7 feet and just dunk. Like that takes no skill at all.
“I had to actually learn how to play basketball and how to have skill, you know? I take that any day.”
Harden has exhibited some sensitivity in the past to the notion that some of his fellow NBA players do not look fondly upon his iso-heavy style of play, often referred to as “Hero Ball.” It’s no surprise, then, that Harden took great offense to Giannis’ comments and fired back at the Milwaukee Bucks star.
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