James Harden was fired by the American media on Friday after his poor performance saw his Philadelphia 76ers team eliminated in the NBA playoffs.
Harden, who joined the Sixers in February with the goal of winning the championship, made an anonymous appearance Thursday night and Philadelphia lost Game 6 of Miami 99-90.
Harden, 32, scored just 11 points in 42 minutes with just nine assists and “The Beard” (bearded) attempted just two shots in the second half, both lost.
“It was one of the most disastrous appearances of a star player in the last NBA playoffs,” said ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith.
“James Harden was so bad last night that you thought he was doing it on purpose.”
Skip Bayless, Fox’s competitive basketball expert, was also asked about the player’s motivation. “It is clear that he did not want to go to the final, because he is not interested in victory. “He is more interested in being the MVP (best player), being among the 75 best players of all time in the NBA and making a lot of money, but he has now been betrayed.”
Harden for his part hoped that after the defeat against Miami he could stay with the Philadelphia team which he considers capable of winning the championship.
“Personally, it has been a long year for me. But it has been fantastic since I was here. We try to build something very fast, to quickly build a team capable of winning the championship, which we can do. “But there are still some things missing,” he said.
In 21 games with the Sixers, he averaged 21 points per game, his lowest score since his 2011-12 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder (16.8).
His teammate Joel Embiid for his part claimed that Harden was just a shadow of the one who was appointed to the 2018 MVP while playing with Houston.