On Monday, the Brooklyn star became the first player in 44 years to have 30-plus points, 15-plus assists, 10-plus rebounds and zero turnovers in a game as the Nets defeated the San Antonio Spurs in overtime.
It was Harden’s seventh triple-double in 22 games as a Net, a remarkable stat that already has Harden in second place in franchise history in the category. Only Jason Kidd (61) had more triple-doubles for the Nets franchise, per StatMuse.
Kyrie Irving even said: “I think we got to implement the phrase, ‘Get used to it,’” per Alex Schiffer of The Athletic.
After the game was over, after Harden escaped the court and the cameras in San Antonio, he went on Instagram to share an important message.
Harden Quotes Nipsey
Not long after another stellar performance, Harden posted three photos of himself during Brooklyn’s game against the Spurs. But it was the caption that hit hardest.
“Go and get it bring it back and divide wit yo crew, and when you win on yo terms you redefining the rules,” Harden captioned the post, quoting the late rapper Nipsey Hussle.
The 31-year-old Harden, who is now averaging 25.1 points, a league-leading 11.1 assists and 8.4 rebounds since joining the Nets, had a strong relationship with Hussle. Harden has continued to honor the late rapper since he was fatally shot in Los Angeles in March 2019.
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Harden Says His Journey is for Nipsey
In September, Harden struggled with only 17 points and nine assists as the Rockets defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series — but The Beard still played an important role in helping his former team to advance. Like on Monday, Harden quoted Hussle after the game — this time while addressing reporters at the podium.
“Like Hussle say: ‘Never let a hard time humble us,’” Harden said, via Ben Golliver of The Washington Post.
"Like [Nipsey] Hussle say: 'Never let a hard time humble us.'"
Harden shouted out Nipsey Hussle after winning Game 7.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 3, 2020
In April 2019, not long after Hussle was killed, Harden wore a medallion with an image of Hussle on it before and after a playoff game. After the game, Harden was asked why it’s important for him to continue to have people remember Nipsey.
“That name will never die. People remember him,” Harden said, via NBA TV. “I’m just here because he’s one of my close friends. This journey that I’m on is for him. It’s plain and simple. That name, Nip, everybody knows that name now. I’m just another person that’s just helping that name live on.”
“This journey that I’m on is for him.” 🙏
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 18, 2019
Hussle also helped Harden celebrate winning NBA MVP in 2018, video of which was shared on social media.
I know how close Nipsey Hussell and Harden were man. This hurts so much. pic.twitter.com/Wsg98u70Ju
— ian 🕸 (@deadIocs) April 1, 2019
Hussle planned to start a sports agency through his Marathon brand. Last year, Harden said he wanted to take Hussle’s vision and make it a reality.
“[Hussle] wanted to do a Marathon sports agency,” Harden said, via GQ. “We just had an in-depth conversation, smoking a cigar in the back, just chopping it up about how big we can make this. … I still want to figure out how to make [the agency] happen. That’s one of my goals.”
Before his death, Nipsey Hussle expressed wanting to extend his Marathon brand into sports.
James Harden wants to bring the vision to fruition 🏁 pic.twitter.com/oXxy3AExvx
— ESPN (@espn) February 18, 2020