Today’s NBA has drawn criticism from older generations for a lack of heated rivalries.
Now, players form close friendships with other guys in the league, so it’s rare to see players really go at it with one another with genuine hatred fueling competition.
There might still be a place for that with James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
In a sit-down interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on “The Jump,” Harden was asked about a joke Antetokounmpo made during the All-Star draft about the reason the Milwaukee Bucks superstar wanted Celtics guard Kemba Walker on his team over Harden.
“I want somebody that’s going to pass the ball, that’s what I want,” Antetokounmpo said to TNT’s Charles Barkley.
That didn’t sit well with Harden.
“I have more assists than (Walker) I think,” Harden said back to Nichols. “I don’t see what the joke is.”
She confirmed, adding that entering the All-Star break, the Houston Rocket ranked 10th in the NBA in assists. Walker was 36th.
“I don’t pay attention to stuff like that, I just know none of them can mess with me,” Harden said.
“When it’s all said and done, they’ll appreciate it more. But I wish I could just run and be 7 feet and dunk. Like that takes no skill at all. I got to actually learn how to play basketball and have skill. I’ll take that any day.”
Antetokounmpo and Harden currently sit first and second, respectively, in the NBA MVP Award Tracker. They’ll go at it head-to-head in a month, so mark your calendar for March 25, when Houston travels to Milwaukee.