James Harden Says He Is Best Basketball Player in the World

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 29: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks on against the Indiana Pacers during the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 29, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers defeated the Rockets 120-101. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

James Harden is in the midst of a career year, and he recently told Time's Sean Gregory that he believes he's the best player in the world.  

When asked if he should be the purveyor of that illustrious title, Harden replied, "For sure." 

"I feel like I’m solid in everything: IQ, studying the game, I can score the basketball, make my teammates better," he said. "There are not a lot of guys that have all those characteristics in one. They might be way more athletic, can shoot the ball way better. But everything solid in one human body?"

However, Harden made it clear he was not taking away anything from top players such as LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and others by making that statement. 

"You can ask all those top guys who the best player is; of course, they are going to say themselves," he said. "Because as a basketball player, you're confident in your craft. It's not taking shots at anybody. It's a confidence."

It should be noted this isn't the first time someone has responded in that fashion.

As Harden said, the game's top players are going to speak about themselves in reverential terms because they exude supreme confidence. 

Case in point: In December 2015, Gregory asked Curry the same question, and he responded with the following: "In my mind, yes. That's how I have confidence out there that I can play at a high level every night. I don't get into debates, arguing with people about why I am versus somebody else. 

"I feel like anybody who's at the level I'm trying to be at, if you don't think that when you're on the floor, then you're doing yourself a disservice."

Harden is averaging a preposterous 29.2 points, 11.3 assists and 8.3 rebounds this season under the guidance of head coach Mike D'Antoni. If he maintains those marks, he would become the second player in league history along with Oscar Robertson to average at least 29 points, 11 dimes and eight boards.

Entering the All-Star break, Harden is Basketball-Reference.com's clear favorite to win MVP based on its predictive model that ranks players based on historical voting results.

Harden has a 40.8 percent chance to take home the coveted hardware, while Durant is holding firm at No. 2 with a probability percentage of 23.9. 

    

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.