James Harden did it. He no longer wanted to play in Houston and has now been traded to the Nets. Like many others before him, from Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a trade has shaken up the league. All eyes are now on Brooklyn and their short-term push for success, which nobody knows if it will be instantaneous. Expectations are high, as is always the case when three stars come together, in this case Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and the NBA’s top scorer over the last three seasons.
It is difficult to say when Brooklyn‘s first ring will come, but it is clear that Harden wanted to fight for a ring there and that he did his all to engineer a move to the Nets, even going beyond what is recommended when trying to force a trade. He was so clear that he did not want to be in Houston that he played against the Los Angeles Lakers with an unsportsmanlike look, overweight and with a belly as remarkable as his lack of commitment. At that point, can the NBA afford such behaviour from one of the league’s star players?
Has it affected his image? The answer is yes. Harden became a meme. Surely this is not the message that the NBA wants to send: that of a whimsical star who is capable of neglecting himself so much that he ends up becoming a caricature of himself and whose look ridicules the league itself. The NBA should address these things and nip them in the bud.