In case you missed it, James Harden fired an implicit shot at former teammate Chandler Parsons this afternoon, when he devalued Parson’s contribution to the Houston Rockets by labeling him a role player.
To quote Harden exactly, he said “Dwight (Howard) and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets. The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We’ve lost some pieces and added some pieces.”
In response, Parsons said something quite telling, stating that, “I’m ready for the next step. I’m ready for a bigger role, and I’m ready for more leadership.” His last statement is intriguing, and should come as no surprise in light of Harden’s statement.
What Harden fails to realize is that, while it may in fact be a true statement, he is depreciating his current teammates in the process. By singling out himself and Dwight as the cornerstones of the franchise, he is placing himself above the rest, and demotivating them from buying into this team.
Reactions have been mixed, ranging from disbelief regarding his perceived ignorance, to steadfastly defending him, because after all, the statements he made were true.
I am frankly incensed over his comments, because I believe he is blatantly misrepresenting this generation and substantiating the preconceptions about our moral construct. People in general, and especially athletes, are abandoning the desire to become true leaders, and are instead only focused on personal gain.
Harden’s statements are those of a man without a father figure, so I am attempting to be sensitive to that fact. But that shouldn’t be a blanket excuse for his failures as a leader. He needs to step into that role and grow up. Not that he has the greatest person to partner with on that front. Dwight has never been viewed as much of a leader either, which even more reason for Harden to finally step up.
Parsons clearly saw the lack of leadership within the Rockets organization, and cited it as one of the main reasons he chose to leave. I highly doubt that he is the only one that feels that way. Harden needs to be careful or this team will self-destruct in front of all of our eyes.