FS1’s Colin Cowherd believes Houston Rockets star James Harden’s legacy is tainted without a championship.
After just eleven years in the NBA, Houston Rockets superstar James Harden has already left his mark on the league’s record books. Harden had the second-longest scoring streak during the 2018-19 season, as he scored at least 30 points in 32 consecutive games, which has only been done by Wilt Chamberlain.
Harden is also on his way to becoming the scoring champion for the 2019-20 season, which will mark three scoring titles for his career. This would make Harden just the ninth player in NBA history to do so, joining Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Kevin Durant, George Gervin, George Mikan, Bob McAdoo, and Neil Johnston.
It’s been undeniable that Harden has been one of the greatest players to ever play his position, which even the Harden haters would be forced to admit. Most basketball fans place Harden in the list of the top-five shooting guards in league history, joining Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and the aforementioned Iverson, although the order varies from person to person.
Cowherd says Houston Rockets’ Harden’s legacy has a ding.
One thing that’s notably missing on Harden’s basketball resume in comparison to Jordan, Kobe, and Wade is an NBA title. But has that taken away from Harden’s greatness? Or better yet diminished his legacy?
FS1’s Colin Cowherd says yes, as he had the below to say on The Herd with Colin Cowherd:
“All we care about is titles. Otherwise you’re just ‘ehh he’s good, he’s fine but he’… Like James Harden, it’s gonna ding his legacy. Can’t get to the Finals. Can’t even get there.”
There’s alot to unpack here and it’s worth noting that Harden has been to the Finals, although it was during the 2011-12 season in which he was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s also worth noting that Harden’s Rockets consistently ran up against a loaded Golden State Warriors team that boasted five future Hall of Famers, which isn’t Harden’s fault.
The Rockets were well on their way to putting an end to Cowherd’s narrative during the 2018 Western Conference Finals before Chris Paul suffered an injured hamstring, which is one of the biggest what-if moments in Rockets history.
What many may not want to hear is that Harden’s legacy has already been cemeted as one of the greatest scorers to ever exist, with or without a title to his resume. A championship (or two) will certainly improve Harden’s ranking on the list of the greatest players and/or shooting guards, but the reality is he’s already on that list, if we’re being honest.
It’s the same reason why we look at players like John Stockton, Karl Malone, and former Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley as some of the greatest players of all time, because what they accomplished on the court can’t be debated or discounted, even without a ring.
The good thing for Harden is that the Rockets have a good shot at winning the title this season, as evident by Caesars Palace giving them the fourth-best chances of bringing home the Larry O’Brien trophy. The sooner the Rockets are able to bring a title back to Clutch City, the sooner we’ll stop hearing takes like Cowherd’s.