It hasn't been a great offseason for the Houston Rockets. After trading Russell Westbrook, it appears their longtime franchise face, James Harden, is ghosting the team after demanding a trade this summer.
Since being spotted hitting the club this weekend, instead of attending team workouts, "the Beard" has been the subject of enormous criticism by fans who question his loyalty to the Rockets and his commitment to winning.
To make matters worse, this scandal is coming amid a worldwide pandemic (which he could be helping to spread).
Needless to say, it's not a good look for James and fans haven't been very kind to him on social media. With all the heat he's generating, Harden's mother, Monja Willis, had to come to his defense, speaking out to one user on Instagram.
"I have raised my son to be the caring and giving young business man that he has become. He has his own mind and can make his own decisions and I’m very proud of him for that. Now as far as his job you clearly don’t understand what’s really going on. That’s ok. You know if people had there own life and not try to make decisions for others we would really be a better world. His decisions in life, because this is his life and legacy has nothing to do with you.
He is doing the best for his career. Please pay attention and understand. He has worked hard every time he suited up for his job giving 210%. He ask for a chance to get a ring that’s it. Anyone in there right mind in this busy would want that. So if he lost you as a fan. You weren’t the right fan from the start. Blessing to you son."
The fact that she was so public with the comments suggests Harden has no intention of staying with the Rockets, who are still fresh off their deal that sent Russell Westbrook to the Wizards.
Over the past year, tensions have risen between Harden and the Rockets. It's no secret that the support of Trump by Rockets owner, Tilman Fertitta, has been a huge turnoff to the players. On the court, the Rockets have a long string of failures that continued in the 2020 playoffs.
With his faith already waning, the last straw for Harden may have been the departure of head coach Mike D'Antoni and GM Daryl Morey, who have been huge members of the organization for years.
Now, with Harden still M.I.A., and no indication of what he plans to do going forward, folks are wondering if we'll ever see him in a Rockets jersey again. Regardless, his reputation has taken a pretty sizeable hit.