It’s been a busy summer for James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers. The latter went on a mission to improve the team’s depth, a key weakness and critical part of the Sixers failing to advance past the second round of the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.
Harden, on the other hand, has been busy getting his body right for the upcoming season. There’s been an endless stream of workout pics, videos from runs, and at least one cake floating around a body of water somewhere.
But as it turns out, Harden might be doing a little more behind the scenes.
On August 30, former YouTube sensation SteveWillDoIt (real name Stephen Deleonardis) appeared on Bradly Martyn’s Raw Talk YouTube series. Among many things, the upcoming basketball season was brought up.
And Deleonardis did not hold back about his feelings about the NBA.
“I live in Miami,” Deleonardis explained to Martyn, “and I don’t really watch basketball, I don’t watch basketball cuz f****** James Harden DM’d my girl so it’s like f****** ruined basketball for me. F*** that s*** dude. I’m not watching basketball.”
Martyn asked if Deleonardis what precisely Harden said in the DM. But Deleonardis demurred. “I don’t know,” Deleonardis raged. “F*** maybe messaged [her] back. But, apparently, he didn’t.”
Harden Recently Celebrated a Star-Studded Birthday
Last weekend, Harden put together a massive birthday party that included a host of pop culture’s A-List celebrities. The crew gathered on a yacht to celebrate the Sixers star’s 33rd revolution around the sun.
In addition to basketball stars Kevin Durant, Trae Young, and Lu Dort, music icons Future, Lil Baby, and Travis Scott made an appearance at Harden’s birthday bash. And Lil Baby didn’t just bring himself to the party. The rapper gifted Harden an eyebrow-raising $250,000 in cash and quarters in a suitcase, thus giving the Sixers star, literally, the bag.
Later on at the party, Harden dumped his birthday cake over the side of the boat, putting to bed any fears that this party would derail his summer of fitness.
Harden Spending the Summer Getting in Shape
If that cake-tossing was any indication, Harden is taking his conditioning seriously this season. Over the last two seasons, Harden faced criticism over his health entering the Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets‘ training camps.
But this summer, Harden is teaming up with Sixers personnel to ensure he’s ready to go at the start of the season for Philadelphia.
“Multiple sources said Harden returned to his workout and on-court regimen much sooner than usual this offseason,” Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on June 29, “and has been ramping up his conditioning and training as the summer progresses. Typically, NBA players take time off before entering their offseason schedule, but Harden returned to his training just two weeks after the season ended on May 12. 76ers assistant Sam Cassell has spent extensive time running Harden’s regimen this summer, sources said.”
The Sixers have been burned by summer workout posts in the past. Every year, former Sixers star Ben Simmons infamously posted clips of himself working on his jumper, only to have those hopes fade during the season.
Let’s hope Harden breaks the curse.