Tyson Chandler tells story about how Kobe told him Harden would be the next great player.
The Houston Rockets were among the teams who held their Media Day on Friday, and there was plenty of excitement in the building as Russell Westbrook and James Harden put on their Rockets uniforms, proving that this off-season wasn't a dream after all.
During the media session, Rockets center Tyson Chandler recalled a great story about playing pickup with Harden, Kobe Bryant and others during the NBA lockout in 2011, and how Kobe predicted that Harden was “going to be the next one after me.”
Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets following the lockout-shortened 2011-12 NBA season and that's when he took his game to the next level, just as Kobe predicted. The Beard jumped from 16.8 points to 25.9 points per game in his first season in Houston while also earning All-Star honors for the first time. He has been named an All Star in every season since then, in addition to being crowned league MVP in 2018.
Now, he'll get to reunite with Westbrook as the duo combine to form arguably the most explosive backcourt in the NBA. During a recent interview with Bleacher Report's Howard Beck, Harden described how excited he is to battle alongside a "killer" like Westbrook.
There will be an adjustment period, “a lot of ups and downs” through the regular season, Harden concedes. “But I’m more excited to go into war, postseason, with somebody that is, like, a dog,” he says. “Somebody that’s a killer, for real.”
Harden adds, "Russ isn't just like one of my old teammates that I was in Oklahoma City with; Russ has been my brother since I was 10. Our communication is different. The way we talk to each other is different."
The new-look Rockets will kickoff the 2019 season at home against reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on October 24.