James Harden Nov 1, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; LA Clippers guard James Harden (1) watches from the sidelines in the game against the Los Angeles Lakers during warmups at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden met the media Thursday for the first time since his blockbuster trade to the Los Angeles Clippers, and he had some interesting things to say about his role with his old team.

The Philadelphia 76ers traded the 10-time All-Star guard to the Clippers late Monday in a deal involving six other players and four draft picks.

The veteran had been unhappy for some time with his situation in Philadelphia, and he didn’t hold anything back Thursday, comparing his time with the 76ers to “being on a leash.”

“Philly [was] just changing my role knowing I can give more, knowing I can do more, but if you want me to be honest, it’s like being on a leash,” Harden said. “Like, me knowing, in order for us to get where we want to get to, I was going to have to be playing my best offensively whether it’s facilitating and scoring the basketball, and Joel [Embiid] as well.

“I never really had that opportunity. I think all that plays into where I am today.”


The leash line caught everyone by surprise, and someone asked Harden to clarify the comment.

“When I’m in a leash, I’m not meaning shoot the basketball every time,” Harden said. “I meant like, I think the game and I’m a creator on the court, so if I’ve got a voice to where I can [say] ‘Hey coach, I see this, what you think about this?’ then it’s all OK. Someone that trusts me or believes in me and understands me that I’m not a system player, I am a system.”

You have to admit, “I’m not a system player, I am a system” could be a defining quote for any great athlete, so kudos to Harden for thinking of that line.

Fans had a lot of fun with Harden’s remarks.

[Yahoo Sports]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.