James Harden fights back at rumors he "pouted" after All-Star snub

Published September 6, 2023 at 7:19 PM

James Harden continues to dominate the headlines during this off-season. His recent spotlight moment came when he challenged NBA insider Ramona Shelburne's reports. Shelburne had claimed that Harden was 'upset' about not being selected for the All-Star Game.

As a result, he delayed his response to Commissioner Adam Silver's invitation to be an injury replacement, ultimately missing out on the opportunity.

"Several days passed without a response from Harden. He was frustrated," stated Shelburne. "By the time he agreed to the invitation, Silver had already named Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam as Durant's replacement."

Harden shockingly refuted these reports on Instagram, stating:
"Enough with these rumors... I'm going to start sharing the real story."

Harden also left a succinct comment on ESPN's Instagram post regarding Shelburne's report.
"False," Harden declared.

The All-Star snub may have played a role in James Harden's decision to depart from the Philadelphia 76ers this summer. While he contested Ramona Shelburne's report about being upset, the latter part of her story may hold more truth, and Harden might not be able to dispute it. Shelburne hinted that Harden's relationship with the Sixers soured as his contributions went unnoticed, leading to his All-Star exclusion.

"The first indication that Harden's 'sacrifice' wasn't being recognized, let alone rewarded as he expected, came in late January when he missed the All-Star selection," Shelburne reported. "Harden, a 10-time consecutive All-Star, was disappointed by the omission, according to sources."

The Sixers publicly supported Harden, but the lack of acknowledgment for his selfless role may have made him reconsider playing a secondary role. Additionally, Harden made a significant financial sacrifice by accepting a reduced contract during the 2022 free agency.

He willingly reduced his pay by $15 million to allow the Sixers to sign veteran free agents PJ Tucker and Danuel House Jr. and strengthen the team's defensive capabilities around him and Joel Embiid.

Following his public disagreement with Daryl Morey, numerous reports suggest that Harden desires to return to the role of a primary scorer. Unfortunately, that role is firmly held by reigning MVP Joel Embiid in Philadelphia.

These circumstances likely influenced James Harden's choice to explore free agency and possibly leave the 76ers this summer.

September 6   |   16 answers
James Harden fights back at rumors he "pouted" after All-Star snub

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