USA Flashback: The Day James Harden Decided To Stop Playing Defense

It’s the fourth of July and the only way basketball accounts (including us) know how to celebrate the day is by posting our favorite pics and clips of NBA players wearing a Team USA uniform. Some of my go to favorites include the Kobe vs LeBron scrimmage battle in 2007 and the 2000 dunkfest between Team USA and the USA Select Team with Jason Richardson and Jay Williams shoe (it’s the only thing you can see after Ray Allen posterized him). I also like posting pics of Emeka Okafor wearing a Team USA uniform just so kids on Instagram will say, “Who is that?” Another favorite video to post — even though it requires me to keep a low profile in H-Town for a few days — is the above clip from August 2nd of 2012 of Sixth Man of the Year James Harden getting his ankles broken by some guy on Nigeria. That day is now know as “The Day James Harden Stopped Playing Defense.”

The USA went on to win that game against Nigeria by 83 (156-73). After the blowout, there were three big questions: (1) Did Coach K run up the score? (2) How did Carmelo Anthony score 37 points in 14 minutes? (3) Are the strip clubs in OKC handicap accessible? The answers were No, because Nigeria doesn’t play D and it doesn’t matter because Harden was about to take his talents to Houston. And it was in H-Town where the world discovered James Harden could be an unstoppable offensive force (he had 37 points and 12 assists in his Rockets debut and followed it up with 45 points). It was also in H-Town where we learned Harden likes playing defense as much as basketball players in Nigeria.

And it was in H-Town where he conducted basketball camps like this one.

And it was also in H-Town where Harden won the Shaqtin’ A Fool MVP award.

It’s also in H-Town where Harden became a MVP candidate by putting together one of the best statistical seasons in NBA history.

I would say I hope Harden doesn’t take an offense to this joke of a post but I know he’s not going to get defensive about it. He will even tell you he never gets defensive.