James Harden of the Houston Rockets is without a doubt one of the most gifted basketball players we’ve ever seen. Year in and year out, the man known as “The Beard” is a perennial threat for the scoring title with his combination of stepback 3-pointers and elite penetrating ability.
Unfortunately, one of the downsides of his game is his tendency for overreacting or even faking certain reactions just to be able to get an (unfair) advantage on his opponents. For one reason or another, though, the referees just keep buying it.
Below are 10 of the worst flops in Harden’s career.
The Arm Tangle
This move is not exclusive to Harden, but he just took it to another level here. Josh Hart had no chance, and he even had his hands up seconds before the whistle.
The I Got You
Harden’s flopping drives his opponents crazy — especially when it works. This time around, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz was the victim. Harden flopped on him to get the offensive foul call, and the Utah big man just losses it.
The Curry Special
This one is especially dedicated to two-time MVP Stephen Curry. Even he is not immune to Harden’s prime acting skills. Curry obviously knew what Harden was trying to do and was not very happy.
The Low Blow
This is not exactly a flop, but more of a bit of a dirty play by Harden. Still, it makes our list because he once again got away with what looked like a foul that should have been called on him. Such are the perks of being a superstar, I guess.
What other way to get a foul from your defender than by hugging him? You have to make sure that the referee doesn’t see it from his angle, though. Here’s a lesson on exactly how to pull it off courtesy of Harden:
The Fly Away
Sometimes, Harden needs a little nudge to get things going. In this case, he needed a slight bump to flying all the way to the first row. Also check out the smack talking (or smack signing?) by Harden on the previous play. Double whammy.
The It Doesn’t Matter if You’re Just Standing I Will Still Get a Foul
The title pretty much says it all.
The Run Out of Bounds
More often than not, Harden gets the whistle. This happens so frequently that Harden himself is often in disbelief whenever he is not whistled for a foul. One time, he tried to protest by literally running out of bounds. That bonehead play actually cost the game for the Rockets.
The Defend the Beard
Whatever you do, do not touch that beard! Academy-award worthy moment from Harden right here.
That’s not the first time that happened, too.
Harden is a game-changer. So much so, that he once even invented his own tactic on how to get fouled by your defender even when you have his back. We have since dubbed it as “the piggy-back.”
Here’s a bonus. Harden maybe a good actor, but he certainly wasn’t acting in this one. Metta World Peace got him cleanly with an elbow here in one of the most violent fouls you’ll ever see. Poor James.
Love him or hate him, nobody deserves to get hit like that.