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Houston Rockets 2015 Media Day: James Harden – Confident and Humble

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Continuing the Houston Rockets 2015 Media Day, James Harden took to the podium to discuss his new team, opportunity and what he expects.

If you’ve heard the expression “growing before our very eyes” it could aptly describe the transition of James Harden as he is maturing, becoming a leader and raising his own personal bar to the next level. While the Houston Rockets 2015 Media Day featured 7 players at the podium it was the undisputed star of the team who appears different.

Sure he’s been photographed with his glitzy new girlfriend Khloe Kardashian and out on the town with his buddies while still wearing Nike’s (who for the record his contract won’t end with until October). Yet when he took to the podium on Media Day there was a definite difference in his demeanor. He’s grown up and isn’t taking all this fame and success for granted.

Live NOW – "(Ty) is gonna help our team so much. I can go natural 2-guard & play off the ball more." pic.twitter.com/5EQcCh4aVL

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) September 28, 2015

Repeatedly he spoke of how he is humbled by his success and knows the root of it comes from hard work. You know listening to him speak how importantly he views his leadership role on the team, how much he wants to improve and above all how close he knows they were last season. James Harden is telling everyone how lucky he is, but you know luck has nothing to do with it. Perhaps it was my imagination but he looks bulkier (and not in a bad way) as if he’s spent countless hours building his already famously strong upper body for the drives to the paint we’ll see this season.

.@Jharden13 on playing with @tylawson3 #NBAMediaDay http://t.co/PUpne7UT2f

— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 28, 2015

Yet there is also joy intermixed with his discussion on leading the team and need to improve. Harden spoke of the addition of Ty Lawson momentarily allowing his demeanor to showcase a real joy over the thought of being able to spot up in a corner for an open shot without having to create that opportunity himself.

The accolades for Lawson started with the first visitors to the podium (coach McHale and G.M. Morey) and was echoed throughout all the players statements. They all feel the addition of Ty Lawson is going to pay huge dividends and that his presence will allow the team to accomplish 3 major goals, increase the pace, lower the turnovers and above all take part of the burden off Harden’s shoulders.

While the coach and some players spoke to these benefits, Harden’s excitement is palpable given Lawson will free him up for substantial periods of every game. And, while it’s ridiculous to assume teams won’t guard Harden the difference will be Ty represents a player with much of the same skill set as well as some other sweet benefits like low turnovers.

James Harden seems to be in a good place. He was ready to be a star, learned how to be a superstar, has grown as a leader. He's special.

— Jerome Solomon (@JeromeSolomon) September 28, 2015

In one of the more touching moments of the day (and just after Harden had spoken of remaining humble) he had an hug and exchange with TNT side line reporter Craig Sager who has been battling cancer for quite some time.

Highlight of the day: James takes a minute to hug and say hello to Craig Sager in crowded room of media. #SagerStrong pic.twitter.com/ZD41UGtC87

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) September 28, 2015

Last summer Harden was asked who the best player in the NBA was and he said “I am”. This season when a reporter asked him if he considered himself the best Harden paused before answering “Always do” but clarified it’s because he believes in being confident. It highlighted the difference one season can make. Last year he as a supremely talented player who was just learning how to lead. This year he looks and sounds like the leader he’s become!

Note: Clicking the twitter link below will allow you to view his interview in it’s entirety:

Media Day 2015 – James Harden http://t.co/87DTmrv2kE via @houstonrockets

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) September 29, 2015

While the confidence is there what resonated was how many times Harden used the word humble or humility. He’s growing as a person and isn’t letting the fame go to his head. Rather, he is intent on reminding himself that hard work (and I’d add natural talent) is what made his ascent possible and isn’t about to take any of it for granted.

.@JHarden13 on #Rockets chances to win championship: "If we can stay healthy I'm confident we have a legitimate shot to win it."

— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) September 28, 2015

Asked about the fact the team seems so confident and entered this season with a nothing less than a championship will do attitude, Harden responded there is that feeling of confidence, but that it’s also a humbling feeling as they now recognize what it will take to get there.

Stay with Space City Scoop as we bring you the highlights from the player’s at the podium today and make sure to make us a daily stop for all things Houston Rockets. As we gear up for the season watch for our Space City Scoop team Round Table or our Player Profiles.

Next: Howard Media Day

Next: James Harden Player Profile

Next: SCS Round Table Off Season Part 1

Next: SCS Round Table Off Season Part 2

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