Adidas Ad in Milwaukee Newspaper Supports James Harden over Giannis for MVP

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2019

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 20: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks on against the Memphis Grizzlies on March 20, 2019 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Adidas may not win many hearts and minds with its newest promotional tactic. 

The Houston Rockets are playing the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. Ahead of the game, Adidas took out an ad in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel addressing James Harden's quest for the Most Valuable Player award, per ESPN's Tim McMahon:

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon

With the Rockets in town, Adidas took out a full-page James Harden ad in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “You’re free to think James Harden deserves to be MVP. Or that he doesn’t.” https://t.co/vDxbFjKesM

It's part of a larger campaign centered around one of the biggest athletes under the Adidas umbrella.

adidas Basketball @adidasHoops

You’re free to think the league’s best player deserves his second MVP... Or not. #FreeToHarden @JHarden13 https://t.co/jed976rETc

The MVP is coming down to a two-horse race between Harden and Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, and both players have built a strong case to receive the honor.

The Rockets sit third in the Western Conference in large part because of Harden. He's averaging a league-high 36.4 points, 7.5 assists and 6.4 rebounds. With Chris Paul and Clint Capela missing time, Harden has had to put the team on his back at times, and his 40.54 percent usage rate is on pace to be the second-highest ever, per Basketball Reference.

The Bucks, meanwhile, are first in the Eastern Conference. Antetokounmpo is putting up 27.4 points, 12.6 rebounds and 6.0 per game, and he's third in ESPN.com's real plus-minus (plus-6.19). The 24-year-old is positioning himself as the best two-way player in the NBA.

While the MVP battle is still up for debate among many fans, those in Milwaukee have probably already made up their minds.