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James Harden says New York ‘was the mecca’

New York City has long been hailed as ‘the Mecca’ of basketball, but for whatever reason, the city has failed to produce an NBA championship since 1973. The term has been synonymous with the Big Apple for decades. Now, however, Houston Rockets guard James Harden feels the distinguished title could be slipping away.

In a recent interview with Michael Lee of Yahoo! Sports, Harden noted that Los Angeles should be considered.

“It was the mecca,” Harden said of New York City. “They still got a lot of elite talent coming out of New York, obviously. But L.A. is pretty strong.”

In the last decade, New York City has produced just one NBA lottery pick: Kemba Walker in 2011. That’s a tough pill to swallow when you consider the fact that NYC has produced some of the NBA’s greatest players, including Bob Cousy, Julius Erving, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (to name a few).

Harden could be onto something in citing LA as the new ‘Mecca.’

James Harden

“What city produced the top three finishers in MVP voting last season?,” Michael Lee of Yahoo! Sports writes in his recent article. “What city produced more All-Stars than anywhere else this season? What city has a strong chance of producing the league’s MVP in consecutive years for the first time? The answer to all three questions is Los Angeles.”

The list of star players from LA in today’s NBA continues to grow. Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and Klay Thompson are all natives of Southern California.

What’s the reason for this recent influx of talent from the City of Angels?

“Uh… L.A. is big as hell,” Westbrook told Yahoo! Sports with a smile.

James Harden

Omar Rawlings/Contributor/Getty Images

Though New York continues to produce NBA-level talent, it seems as though Los Angeles is on the rise.

“We’ve been having stars come out of LA,” Harden said. “We’re just trying to keep that tradition alive, keep that L.A. swag going and carry it on to the next era.”