Tyrese Maxey’s insane competitiveness knows no bounds, including when he goes head-to-head against a future Hall of Famer. The third-year player has been “bumping heads” with James Harden in recent weeks on the playground.
Maxey and Harden sometimes let their emotions get the best of them during pick-up basketball games. It’s all in good fun, just another instance of iron sharpening iron. Maxey looks up to Harden as his “big brother” in the locker room.
“Every single time we play pick-up or 1-on-1 I don’t want to lose to James,” Maxey said. “It’s like playing against your big brother, and it’s been times where we played pickup in the past couple of weeks and we’re going to bump heads because I’m just extremely competitive like that. And he is, too. Which is really good.”
Don’t mistake their competitive fire for friction. They have bonded on and off the court, to the point where Maxey can pick up the phone and ask Harden for life advice. Remember, he has 12 years on the skinny kid from Kentucky.
“We’ve done a lot of things while we were working out together and then just being able to have a chemistry and a brotherhood,” Maxey said. “I can pick up the phone and I can call him whenever, and not just for basketball but for life, and I really do appreciate him for that.”
Harden Organized Bonding Trip to Los Angeles
Harden started taking on a bigger leadership role over the summer, too. The 10-time All-Star organized a team bonding trip to Los Angeles where several players converged to hoop and hang out. That proved to be a seminal moment in the offseason, according to Tobias Harris.
“Everybody was there and we were able to kind of get up and down, play 5-on-5, go out to dinner but just being able to be around each other, everybody was doing a really good job of putting some great work in the summer,” Harris said. “So, just being able to be there, everybody could showcase what they’ve been working on. And that’s how you build chemistry is just being around each other, communicating, talking in those situations, so it was a great time. We were out in L.A. so those few days we were there were big for us.”
New Mantra for 2022-23 Campaign: ‘We, Not Me’
The Sixers have a new mantra for the 2022-23 campaign: “This is a we season, not a me season.” Maxey revealed the slogan at Media Day when someone asked him about his personal goals. No one is focused on individual success.
“This season is going to be all about us as a group, as an organization, and I just want us to be the best we can possibly be,” Maxey said. “I always say, I want to improve 1% better every single day. Training camp starts tomorrow. I want us to improve 1% better every single day. I’m not going to really worry about the individual accolades.”
Everyone has seen the videos of Maxey in the gym. He was spotted working out with LeBron James. He’s been playing 1-on-1 against James Harden. He lit it up at the Rumph Classic at LaSalle University. Yes, he put in the work on the hardwood but the real work was done on the mental side of things.
“I just want to go out there and help my team as much as possible,” Maxey said. “One of the main things I really kind of focus on is trying to become a better leader.”