Breaking Down Bombshell Report on Sixers Star James Harden

Philadelphia 76ers, James Harden. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia 76ers, James Harden. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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James Harden thought he was heading to his 11th All-Star Game back in February. He was doing things he had never done before like setting up teammates for easy baskets, grabbing clutch boards, and scoring buckets in bunches. He was playing phenomenal basketball, serving as a true floor general while averaging 21.4 points, 11 rebounds, and 6.4 rebounds and assists per game.

However, the voters didn’t respect his all-around game. It irritated him.

Harden was snubbed from the All-Star team. Worse yet, the 34-year-old finished fourth in Eastern Conference voting behind Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell, and Jaylen Brown. Harden was “dismayed” at the snub, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver extended him an invitation to be an injury replacement, Harden waited days to respond as he privately “pouted.”  Shelburne wrote:

"By the time Harden sent word that he would accept the invitation, Silver had moved on, naming Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam as the replacement for an injured Durant. Because of the way Harden handled the situation, the Sixers did not engage in much damage control afterward. They spoke up for him publicly, calling attention to the snub. But they were walking a fine line, too."

The wound was open. The schism was widening. Yet check out these comments from then-coach Doc Rivers following the Sixers’ shootaround when asked about the snub a few days after the All-Star team was announced. Rivers was pretty adamant that The Beard deserved a roster spot. He (and Joel Embiid) had his star player’s back.

“I didn’t even think it would be a question [that Harden would be selected],” Rivers told The Inquirer on February 3. “I think your record should matter, I think James Harden’s numbers should matter and I do think a history of his work should matter. This is maybe something that we should consider having coaches’ votes public. … This never should have happened.”