Brooklyn Nets star James Harden was a perennial Most Valuable Player candidate before he reaggravated a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for nearly a month. On the season ‘The Beard’ is averaging 25.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 11.0 assists per game.
Harden is considered to be an integral piece for the Nets’ championship hopes. Since being traded from the Houston Rockets when Harden plays the Nets have a record of 27-7. Without him that record significantly dwindles to just 9-9.
The game that Harden suffered the injury was during a matchup with the New York Knicks on April 5. Injuries are all a part of the game, but from the looks of The Beard’s latest social media activity, he may be taking it more personally than most.
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Harden Crops Knicks Out of New Yorker Cover
Both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks will receive a great honor this month as both teams are featured on the May 10 edition of the New Yorker.
The title of the picture is “Hoop Dreams in New York” by Mark Ulriksen. The photo shows the Nets ‘big 3’ of Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant depicted much bigger than Knicks players RJ Barrett and Julius Randle and are running way in front of the Knicks.
As if the picture was not controversial enough Harden edited the picture with the Knicks players cropped out and posted it to his Twitter account on Tuesday.
— James Harden (@JHarden13) May 4, 2021
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) May 3, 2021
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Fans React to Harden’s Shot at Knicks
As you might expect, fans on Twitter had a field day with Harden’s shot at the Nets cross-town rival.
— Hannah Storm (@HannahStormESPN) May 4, 2021
Two petty ass mfers on one team this is hilarious 😭 let em know though my guy 😈 https://t.co/bQhrKP60cD
— 🏀 (@rockethottake13) May 4, 2021
Harden cropping the Knicks = how the Nets feel
This was supposed to be the Nets’ year!
Their year to sit atop the NBA!
Their year to dunk on the Knicks!
Their year to take NYC!
Instead it’ll be known as the year the Knicks got going
No matter what, that’s the cover story https://t.co/ymxczpuAJM
— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) May 4, 2021
thank you for confirming the only way to prevent the Knicks from chasing you down is in photoshop. https://t.co/HCznKU9U2K
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 4, 2021
— Advait Venkat (@advait_venkat) May 4, 2021
Harden Knew Much Success Awaited Him in Brooklyn
For Harden, the decision for him to leave Houston to come to Brooklyn was an easy one. He was already one of the league’s most decorated players, notching multiple scoring titles and even capturing the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2018. The icing on the cake for what is already a Hall of Fame career for Harden would be capturing that elusive first championship. The Nets gave him the most promising opportunity to do that.
“It’s not a guarantee that me coming to Brooklyn is guaranteeing a title. I think, for me, giving myself a chance is very, very important,” Harden told reporters via NBATV.
“[When I was] younger, giving myself a chance, but wanting to get paid and wanting to take care of my family was very, very important to me. Now in this stage of my career, it’s giving myself a chance to do something that I haven’t accomplished yet in the league.”
After carrying so much of an offensive load in Houston throughout the season, Harden would often burn out in the later rounds of the playoffs. This is where playing with two all-world talents like KD and Kyrie became such a factor. With not having to worry so much about the scoring Harden could zero in on the true strength of his game which is playmaking. In his first season as a full-time point guard, he leads the NBA in assists with 11.0 per game.
“We have two elite scorers that the world knows already. My job is to come out here, obviously score the basketball when needed, but my playmaking ability,” Harden said via Nets Wire.
“Whether it’s getting our shooters shots, getting our bigs finishes around the rim, and making the entire team better.”
"Now in this stage of my career, it’s giving myself a chance to do something that I haven't accomplished yet in the league… That's why I'm here in Brooklyn.”
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 15, 2021
The Nets will be looking to break a two-game losing streak when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.