“Smoking Before He Even Got There”: After Being Blasted by Skip Bayless, James Harden’s 76ers Exit Antics Get Shielded by Lil Wayne

Published 09/01/2023, 3:08 PM EDT

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The world of the NBA has recently been ablaze with discussions and debates surrounding the actions of James Harden. The former 76ers star has, for the second time in a year, engineered a move away from a team. He’s leaving many questioning his approach to the game and his reputation as an NBA player.

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Criticism of Harden’s actions has been swift and sharp, particularly from high-profile voices like sports commentator Skip Bayless. In recent debates, Bayless, known for his unfiltered opinions, didn’t hold back when discussing Harden’s exit antics.

Lil Wayne comes to James Harden’s defense

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In an interesting twist, Lil Wayne, the renowned hip-hop artist, emerged as an unexpected defender of James Harden. This was during a recent appearance on the Uninterrupted, a sports debate platform. Lil Wayne, who has appeared regularly on the show, joined the likes of Skip Bayless and Keyshawn Johnson for a spirited discussion.

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Lil Wayne offered a counterpoint to the prevailing narrative, arguing players like Harden thrive in specific environments. He emphasized that playing alongside like-minded individuals who share his passion and dedication to the game motivates Harden.

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On the other hand, Keyshawn Johnson, another participant in the debate, seemed to see things from Harden’s perspective. He argued that Harden’s “burn the house down” approach could be a reaction to feeling trapped or undervalued by his previous teams. In other words, if Harden couldn’t get what he wanted (a trade), he was willing to create chaos within the organization to force their hand.

Bayless then argued that Harden proceeded to disrupt the chemistry in Brooklyn. This ultimately led to causing issues that led to his departure for Philadelphia. In Bayless’s view, the pattern suggested Harden was willing to “burn down the house” wherever he went if he didn’t get his way.

Weezy countered, suggesting that Philadelphia had already been facing challenges before Harden’s arrival. He stated, “Philadelphia” [was] smoking before he even got there”, implying that the team was already in turmoil.

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History of betrayal

In the show, Skip emphasized that he’s watched Harden effectively “quit his way out” of two previous teams. His time with the Houston Rockets, once a promising partnership, ended acrimoniously. This happened because of accusations of lackluster effort and conditioning concerns. And it was further epitomized by his return looking out of shape.

Harden’s move to the Brooklyn Nets, where he joined forces with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, generated a massive buzz. But it also generated its fair share of controversy. Critics argue he orchestrated his departure from Houston, essentially forcing the Rockets into a corner.

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Now, Harden is back to square one, he is asking for a trade, and fans and analysts have unique viewpoints on his stance. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!

Watch This Story: Kobe Bryant’s Ruthless Trash–Talking With Michael Jordan, James Harden, and Others

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Written by:

Almas Saad

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Mohammad Almas Saad is an NBA Writer at EssentiallySports. Almas has over four years of experience writing about the sport he loves. He began right after college and has composed more than 500 stories.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja

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