Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James made strikingly similar comments as Houston Rockets star James Harden about the MVP voting system, but received far different treatment for his remarks.
When Houston Rockets superstar James Harden finished second place in the 2019 MVP race, it was known that he had been snubbed. Harden became the first player since Michael Jordan to average 36 points per game and scored 30 or more points in 32 consecutive games, which was the second longest streak behind only Wilt Chamberlain.
But it doesn’t even stop there, as Harden’s defense was equally impressive. Harden finished second in deflections per game (among players who played at least 77 games) and finished second in total deflections. Harden was also the only player in the league with over 150 steals and at least 55 blocks, which is no easy feat.
The Rockets faced a myriad of injuries, yet still finished with the fourth-best record in the league, thanks to The Beard’s contributions. But Harden finished second in the MVP race, behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, and questioned the methodology behind the voters, while pointing out how the media’s popular narratives play a large part in the overall outcome of the award.
Harden was portrayed as a sore loser, a bad sport, and a crybaby for speaking the truth, which is that he had a better season, despite having to do more than Giannis, as he wasn’t surrounded with a fellow All-Star, unlike Giannis. Suddenly we began to hear people state that Harden’s displeasure with being snubbed for the MVP award showed everything that was wrong with him and the Rockets franchise, as the team sided with him.
Fast forward to the 2019-20 MVP results and similar comments were made, albeit from a different player, and there wasn’t any outrage.