James Harden might have thought he was in for a casual event at an Academy Sports and Outdoors store on Friday, but the children came prepared to ask the tough questions.
"What made you do that traveling step-back?" a young boy asked the Houston Rockets guard.
"Do they call a travel on it?" Harden responded. "Then why is it a travel?"
The kids laughed, but Harden wasn't kidding.
"It's not a travel," the 2017-18 NBA Most Valuable Player continued. "This year, I'm gonna come up with something more creative that is gonna look like it's traveling, but it's not."
During a game in January between the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings, Stephen Curry was called for traveling while executing the same type of step-back that Harden gets away with. After the call, Curry appeared to frustratingly hold up "13" with his fingers—Harden's jersey number.
On Friday, Harden discussed more pleasant topics, too, such as his former Oklahoma City teammate and friend Russell Westbrook.
All eyes will be on the Rockets backcourt to see how Harden and Westbrook play together, so the pressure is on not only the Rockets to win but Harden to ensure he camouflages his step-back to the best of his ability.