Since joining the league in 2009, James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers has earned 10 All-Star appearances, the 2011-12 Sixth Man of the Year award, the 2017-18 MVP, as well as a place on the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.
For better or for worse, Harden is still talked about a lot by basketball fans.
His output has varied a bit over the last few years but few can deny that Harden can be a very talented, unstoppable NBA star.
"I'm one of the people that changed the game of basketball. Honestly, the only thing that I'm missing is a championship."
– James Harden
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) December 16, 2022
Harden understands his place in the league and the things that he’s done for it.
Speaking to Fox Sports, Harden wasn’t afraid to commend himself, saying:
“I’m one of the people that changed the game of basketball. Honestly, the only thing that I’m missing is a championship.”
Therein lies Harden’s ultimate goal and desire: he wants to help his team win the NBA Finals and knows that his legacy is on the line.
Close, But Not Close Enough
Harden has been to the playoffs so many times throughout his career, making the postseason for every team he’s played with.
But he’s never made it all the way and claimed a Finals.
His hand remains ringless and Harden is desperate to change that.
For the last few years, people have remarked on just how great Harden can be but they also touched upon the fact that he often doesn’t have a strong postseason showing, as if he is out of energy and not able to perform well.
Harden heard the talk and took this latest offseason very seriously: he hit the gym hard and worked with his team to make the 76ers in playoff-ready form well before the first game.
That may or may not be enough to get them to the promised land but Harden has a newfound sense of purpose.