James Harden responds to verbal jab from Giannis Antetokounmpo: ‘I don’t see what the joke is’

Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo cracked a joke at James Harden’s expense during the 2020 NBA All-Star Draft earlier this month. When asked by Charles Barkley if he was going to select Harden during the draft, Antetokounmpo, who served as a captain, implied that Harden tends to hog the ball. 

“I want somebody that is going to pass the ball,” Antetokounmpo replied to Barkley’s comment. “That’s what I want.” 

Everyone on the set had a good laugh at Giannis’ jab, but one person who isn’t laughing is Harden himself, who responded to the comment in a recent interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols and got in a return shot at Antetokounmpo in the process. 

“I average more assists him than him, I think…I don’t see what the joke is,” Harden said. “I didn’t even see it. I don’t pay attention to stuff like that. I just know that none of them can mess with me… I wish I could just run and was seven feet and run and just dunk. That takes no skill at all. I had to actually learn how to play basketball and have skill. I’ll take that any day.” 

In his comments, Harden was clearly referring to Antetokounmpo’s reliance on his size for his point production while implying that his own style of play requires much more skill and nuance. Is Harden’s assessment correct? That’s up for debate, but one thing that isn’t debatable is that the next meeting between the Bucks and Rockets (in Milwaukee on March 25) will be must-see TV. 

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