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James Harden says he considered himself a role player during days with OKC

Jul 26, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Toronto Raptors v Houston Rockets Getty Images

James Harden has been mouthing off a bit lately when asked about Chandler Parsons, who played alongside Harden last season but has now left in free agency to join the Dallas Mavericks.

Harden said that he and Dwight Howard are the franchise cornerstones, and that everyone else in Houston is just a role player — a statement that might be true, but as the line from The Big Lebowski goes, “You’re not wrong, Walter. You’re just an a–hole.”

Parsons was ticked off by the remarks, but the numbers indicate that his anger may be a bit misguided. Nevertheless, Harden may not have meant the intended level of slander, as a recent response to a fan on Twitter seemed to indicate.

So, it appears as though Harden may not have intended to disrespect Parsons (or any of his current teammates) after all. But if nothing else, he has to be more cognizant of how his remarks will come across.

  1. mrlaloosh - Jul 26, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    Nobody cares. It’s Houston.

  2. cpcheung - Jul 26, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    I was under other players in Oklahoma. Now you are under me in Houston! Then you know how good is Houston Rockets in NBA.

    • 00maltliquor - Jul 26, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      Jeremy Lin

      • rohlo - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:53 PM

        can totally tell he was a lin fan… have fun rooting for the lakers this season!!! lmao then you can bash the lakers when they dont resign him after the season.

  3. fanofthegame79 - Jul 26, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    The Big Lebowski is my all-time favorite movie, solid use of a great quote!

    I see Harden’s backtracking as a: “F**k it, Dude, let’s go bowling…” kind of olive branch. He said what he said and got it off of his chest, now he wants no hard feelings.

    • apkyletexas - Jul 26, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      I am the walrus.

  4. cpcheung - Jul 26, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    What if James Harden said this:
    “I am only a piece in Houston Rockets. Every teammate, former or current, is my hero!”
    Would he have been a true leader?
    However, Jeremy Lin agrees with James Harden that James Harden and Dwight Howard are the two corner stones. No one in NBA would be so humble with high intelligence from Harvard! Where was Harden during the time of Linsanity?

    • bhunter1995 - Jul 26, 2014 at 10:52 PM

      That’s all true, but Harden isn’t being honest with us with this statement. If he thought he was just a role player back in OKC he wouldn’t have demanded such a huge contract, he thought of himself as an undervalued star and sought out star payment (5 years, 80 million in Houstan vs 4 years 55 million in OKC) when he was only averaging good numbers, not the kind of numbers that get you a max deal.

  5. sportsfan18 - Jul 26, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    I really have to wonder about Harden’s thinking.

    Bout a year and a half ago, he gave $20K to an ugly lady to hang out with him one night and she tweeted the photos of the cash and talked about.

    Dude is several slices short of a full loaf up there.

    He needs to realize that he plays only half of the game, he plays no D at all.

    That makes him a role player since he ignores of the great game of basketball.


    A cornerstone does not ignore half of the game.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 26, 2014 at 5:29 PM

      Magic Johnson ignored half of the game.

      Harden isn’t paying strippers 20 grand to “hang out.”

      • duhwighthoward - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:23 PM

        better defender than LeBronna Mann

    • bhunter1995 - Jul 26, 2014 at 10:32 PM

      The only reason I’m down voting you is because you called Jenna Shae ugly. She may not be a hoe that is worth 20 Gs but there is a reason her job description is “Booty Model”.

  6. imakcds - Jul 26, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    On a successful basketball team EVERYONE has their roles. Even Superstar Team Leader is a role, one which is rarely filled competently.
    Houston is stacking themselves with players that CAN NOT and WILL NOT fill that role.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 26, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      Yes, but the word ‘role’ and the term ‘role player’ do not have the same meaning. Everyone has a role on the team, true – but they’re not all role players.

  7. rosloe62 - Jul 26, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    The Rockets are a role player in the NBA.

  8. au1978 - Jul 26, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    I’m sure Harden wasn’t trying to disrespect Parsons, but everything gets blown out of proportion during the offseason when nothing else is going on. His statement is true, but if the Rockets are going to excel, he needs to take his game to another level, which includes playing both ways and being more willing to share the rock.

  9. 00maltliquor - Jul 26, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Honestly, is it just me or are these tweets a headache to try to read? I can’t figure them out for the life of me. Go ahead, you guys can go in on me now……….

    • eugenesaxe1 - Jul 26, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      Nah, you’re fine. Twatter hurts my brain.

    • duhwighthoward - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      Not just you.

      I was going to ask if someone could explain what I just read.

      There should be a law preventing the press from quoting Twitter.

  10. aldavis4president - Jul 26, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    I e been saying this since his days in OKC and even Arizona st. Hes a legit scorer no doubt, can dribble, and get to the cup. But he plays NNOO D at all, is a volume shooter, turns the ball over more than anyone in the league, and is horrible off ball. Not to mention he’s been non existent in big games. A lot of my friends and I a lot of people on here immediately start pulling out PPG and APG and other “cute” stats. A lot of players in the league would put up big numbers of given the green light he has. Fantasy bball/football has really made fans all about OFFENSE. Smh.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 26, 2014 at 5:39 PM

      Harden turns the ball over as much as Durant and LeBron. And he plays about as much defense as Durant and Westbrook.

    • rohlo - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:55 PM

      no jeremy lin turns the ball over the most in the nba~

      • bong815 - Jul 27, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        The statistics are available, read them. McHale also uses “facts” that aren’t. He got rid of Lin not because Beverly outplayed him, but because McHale is a prejudicial idiot.

    • foz0606 - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:55 PM

      I realize it’s the “cool thing” to bash Harden cause of his defense(as if there isn’t quite a fair number of star players in the league who don’t play defense themselves), but since when was Harden a “volume shooter”? He is in fact a very efficient player. Don’t just invent crap to support your point of view.

  11. ml98 - Jul 26, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    Harden’s got nothing to show for… Houston is in for another first sound exit in 2015 – The two cornerstones are f*kd, and they know it.

    • rohlo - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      LMAO everyone loves to hop on the hater bandwagon!! fyi asik didnt even play 2/3 of the season last year jeremy lin didnt start either..losing those 2 players is not gonna be a big issue as so many are making of it! they were gonna be gone regardless of what happened with parsons. the rockets biggest weakness last year was defense!! harden yes we know he is not a good defender..neither is chandler parsons as much as i like him,but his lateral movement on defesne is horrible!! in the portland series clincher parson was on the replay,chandler loses him along the top then trys to come across the throws a fledgling am at him after he got beat..chandler can score yes,but last year for a young player like him he started having back problems.he missed several games and it bothered him the whole second half the season… parsons no matter what way anybody wants to sugarcoat it is not worth 15 million per year period! if he was a defensive player to go along with offensive ability maybe..he has no defensive prowess! ariza is a good role player who plays defense and thats what this team needs! he shot at a higher 3 pt % than parsons last year and his free throw percentage was higher as well while playing better defense than chandler..and FYI ariza is only 3 years older than parsons..Ariza left ucla after his freshman year as where parsons who almost had to transfer after his sophmore season at florida needed all 4 years to get to a prospect level to be drated! cuban tried to screw the rockets as he knows damn well he thought they were gonna match no matter what and he got stuck with the inflated trade kicker 15 million dollar contract instead and had to save face by saying they really wanted him bad..even parson himself though the rockets were gonan match!

      • mikerome64 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:57 AM

        With that being said Chandler Parsons is still a better player than Trevor Ariza.

  12. urodaddy07 - Jul 26, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    All players on a team, any team, have a role and therefore are role players by definition. Now, some players, because of talent or temperament, may have a bigger role than others, but no role is unimportant. So the notion that another professional is playing “under you” is ridiculous and disrespectful. This very mindset of “stars and role players”, in my mind, underlies the failure on many talented teams in the NBA. Coaches pander to stars and fail to maximize the potential of other members of their team. Players, like Harden, should let the media and fans talk about stars and role players. In the locker room he should carry himself as a member of the team, no less and no more than the other guy. Now, part of his role may require him to be a leader on the team at times, although after his latest comments I’m not sure he’s the man for the job. He may have very few followers among his team mates.

    • foz0606 - Jul 27, 2014 at 12:04 PM

      I get what you’re saying in trying to come across as politically correct, but players aren’t naive either. They know who the top dogs are that do the heavy lifting and others are there to complement them(you don’t see the guys who follow LeBron around insulted about playing a specific role, do you?). That’s the nature of every sport(except the likes of golf and tennis, of course). Fans and media are making a far bigger deal of this themselves than the actual players. That should tell everyone something.

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