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Rockets’ James Harden ripped by fans in the comments while announcing new Adidas sneaker

James Harden, Rockets

In another sign the relationship between James Harden and the Houston franchise may be irreparably damaged, Rockets fans ripped the guard on social media, following the announcement of his new Adidas sneakers.

While criticism of Harden was to be expected following his trade request to the Rockets, the intensity of the blowback has increased since the former MVP failed to show up for the start of the team’s training camp.

In lieu of joining the organization, Harden has been seen over the last week, in several Las Vegas clubs, as well as in Atlanta to celebrate the birthday of rapper, and friend, Lil Baby. At one point, the shooting guard was photographed shirtless surrounded by friends, that not only increased the displeasure of Rockets fans, but prompted heavy criticism around the league, as it violated the newly established protocols regarding Covid-19.

Though Harden will likely disregard any hard feelings among Rockets fans as collateral damage, the extent of his actions over the past week does threaten to harm his brand long term.

Consistently ranking in the top 10 of jersey sales over the past half decade, Harden this year appeared as one of the five most popular players in the NBA for the first time, according to apparel sales. If the reaction on social media is any indicator, however, Harden’s behavior with the Rockets has not only severely damaged his standing with hometown fans, but may have alienated a portion of viewers leaguewide.

For a man looking to sell his new sneakers, burning bridges with the Rockets may not turn out be the wisest financial decision.

The NBA preseason starts Friday, two months since the end of the NBA Finals. The short offseason has not given James Harden or other NBA players a lot of time to regroup from the Orlando bubble. In this compressed offseason, some players have had a hard time figuring out where they stand in the NBA, Harden being a primary example.