It took James Harden less than a week inside the NBA bubble to set social media ablaze.
The face mask Harden donned Thursday raised plenty of eyebrows. The mask featured a “Thin Blue Line” theme, which many understandably perceived as Harden showing support for law enforcement. Police brutality, of course, remains a pressing issue within the Black community in the United States.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) July 17, 2020
Harden, however, insists he was not trying to make any sort of statement with the mask.
“Honestly, I wasn’t trying to make a political statement,” Harden said Friday, per ESPN’s Tim McMahon. “I honestly wore it just because it covered my whole face and my beard. It’s pretty simple.”
The 2018 NBA MVP, per McMahon, also noted he’s in the process of evaluating ways he can show support for the Black Lives Matter movement upon the league’s restart, potentially with a message on the back of his jersey.
The Rockets return to game action July 31 against the Dallas Mavericks. Houston currently owns the sixth seed in the Western Conference.