3 takeaways on Tim MacMahon’s article regarding the Houston Rockets culture

James Harden of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
James Harden of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon’s recent article depicting the Houston Rockets’ culture of catering to James Harden was a disingenuous character assassination.

The Houston Rockets completed their third preseason game on Tuesday, December 15th with a decisive 112-98 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. James Harden was finally able to make his preseason debut after registering 6 negative COVID-19 tests as part of league protocols.

With just one day to practice with his new teammates and coaching personnel, Harden registered 21 minutes and posted a stat line of 12 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds while shooting 30-percent from the field on 10 field goal attempts. John Wall, Harden’s new backcourt running mate, continued where he left off in his first two preseason games.

Wall excelled in 25 minutes of action as he finished the game with 15 points and 3 steals while shooting 46-percent from the field. While Harden’s appearance on the court showed a sense of optimism among teammates and the coaching staff, it didn’t take long for Harden to find himself in the spotlight again.

ESPN’s staff writer, Tim MacMahon, published a bombshell article on the Houston Rockets and how Harden’s power within the organization led to the current state of the franchise. There were several accounts by team staffers on what kind of culture the Houston Rockets permitted under Harden.

The article cites a former team staffer who described the Rockets’ culture as, “whatever James wants.” MacMahon’s article contained other notable quotes that Harden, “never hearing ‘no’ before” would inevitably lead him “to act up.”

In general, Harden’s characterization by former team staffers isn’t atypical considering his value to the organization. Here are three takeaways about how Tim MacMahon’s piece on the Houston Rockets’ “casual culture” is no different from what we have seen in the past between other franchisees and their superstar player.

“Whatever James wants” has been the Rockets’ philosophy since James Harden arrived in Houston. That changed when he wanted to leave. Ex-Rocket assistant: “Now they have to live with the fallout.” https://t.co/ymTogDUPic

— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 16, 2020

Next: Takeaway #3