Nets' James Harden: 'There's Always a Negative Narrative When It Comes to My Name'

Blake SchusterContributor IMay 20, 2021

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 15: James Harden #13 high-fives Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets during the second half against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center on May 15, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Nets won 105-91. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
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James Harden doesn't appear too concerned with his reputation among basketball fans. Not when his results speak for themselves.

Asked about the narrative that Brooklyn can't win without him after earlier skepticism from fans over trading for the guard, Harden merely shrugged off both sentiments.

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"No matter team I was gonna go to, there's always a narrative when it comes to myself and how I play and my impact...there's always a negative narrative when it comes to my name" - James Harden pic.twitter.com/LvvZcUI27T

"No matter team I was gonna go to ... there's always a narrative when it comes to myself and how I play and my impact," Harden told reporters. "... There's always a negative narrative when it comes to my name."

The Nets have significantly different records depending on if Harden plays or not. Brooklyn is  29-7 with Harden in the lineup as opposed to 19-17 without him available.

Harden added he doesn't pay attention to those narratives because he knows how impactful he is on the floor.

While his nine All-Star appearances and 2018 MVP nod may be the best examples overall, nothing shows Harden's impact during the 2020-21 season more than Brooklyn's stats without him in the lineup.

Even with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving—among a handful of other stars—leading the roster, the Nets averaged slightly fewer field-goal attempts, free-throw attempts and points per game—along with more turnovers—when Harden was out of the lineup.

As much as those individual stats may look negligible, the fact that Brooklyn barely had a winning record without the former Houston Rockets star proves they're not.

"There's not many guys you can throw in a situation who can take a step back from scoring and facilitate," Harden said. "Or if you need him to go score 40 a night. There's not many guys in this league who can do that."

Harden may have put it best after returning from a hamstring injury earlier this month by posting 18 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.

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“Not to, like, brag or anything, but I’m really good at this game.”<br><br>Harden on being able to come back quickly after his hamstring injury <br><br>(via @SNYNets)pic.twitter.com/FwdlipUzMW

"Not to, like, brag or anything," Harden said then, "but I’m really good at this game."