James Harden's Shade of Giannis Is Pretty Rich

Ryan Glasspiegel
James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo
James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo / Stacy Revere/Getty Images
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James Harden did a sit-down interview with Rachel Nichols, and the part that is going to get a lot of attention came after the 5-minute mark when he took a shot at reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo:

Asked about a joke Giannis made about Kemba Walker being a more willing passer that apparently isn't backed up by assist stats, Harden said, "I didn't even see it. I don't pay attention to stuff like that."

Then, responding to a line Nichols quoted from Rockets GM Daryl Morey about how being different isn't appreciated until it works, Harden said, "Yeah, when it's all said and done they'll appreciate it more. But yeah, I wish I could be 7 feet and just run and dunk. That takes no skill. I actually gotta learn how to play basketball and have skill."

Look, I'm a Bucks fan so take this criticism with a grain of salt if you want, but Harden, at 6-foot-5, is taller than 99.6 percent of the American male population, according to this height percentile calculator. He wasn't exactly born with a body type that makes it impossible to thrive in the NBA.

Further, Giannis anchors what Five Thirty Eight called a "historically dominant defense" this week. "Opponents shoot 19 percentage points below their average at the rim when Giannis is closest to the play," writes Chris Herring in the article. Sure, a lot of that can be attributed to height, but he's a very skilled defender.

Ultimately the pettiness is great for content; may Harden and Giannis fight forever about who truly deserved the 2018-2019 regular season NBA MVP award.

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