James Harden says he was not at a strip club in a video circulating on social media of him that has led to speculation.
The Houston Rockets All-NBA guard posted a statement on Instagram: “One thing after another. I went to show my love to my homegirl at her event (not a strip club) because she is becoming a boss and putting her people in position of success and now it’s a problem. Everyday it’s something different. No matter how many times people try to drag my name under you can’t. The real always end up on top.”
The NBA is looking into the video to see if Harden violated health and safety protocols for the 2020-21 season. While Harden said he was not at a club, which would have been a violation of protocols, the league also prohibits players from large indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people.
The league could fine or suspend Harden if it found he violated the protocols.
The Rockets, who open their season Wednesday night against Oklahoma City, have had to deal with Harden’s unhappiness and desire for a trade since the start of training camp. Harden arrived late to camp, choosing to attend a birthday celebration in Atlanta, and had outbursts directed at teammates at recent practices, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The person requested anonymity to speak openly about Harden.
It’s been a turbulent time since the Rockets’ 2019-20 season ended in the bubble playoffs. Mike D’Antoni didn’t return as coach, and general manager Daryl Morey left the Rockets and took a job with Philadelphia, leaving Houston with a first-time GM (Rafael Stone) and first-time head coach (Stephen Silas) to navigate a difficult situation.
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