Beard Struggle: All The Times James Harden Ruined It For His Teammates

Darren - November 7, 2023

Beard Struggle: All The Times James Harden Ruined It For His Teammates

Darren - November 7, 2023

There’s no denying that longtime superstar James Harden has one of the best individual records in the NBA. However, he’s also been a nightmare addition to several rosters because he’s a garbage teammate. Harden’s selfishness and subpar postseason performances make him a polarizing figure. Now let’s look at the times he ruined it for his teammates.

The self-centered star burnt bridges with four franchises before he landed with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2023. Only time will tell if he stays with his hometown team but it’s natural for Clippers fans to fear the worst. Check out the times he ruined it for his teammates right here.

Houston Chronicle

Teammate Confrontations

Harden had a reputation for being a laid-back character before he forced his way out of Houston. He actually surprised everybody with the toxicity of his exit. The shooting guard had several confrontations before he left. These affected the locker room atmosphere and damaged team morale.

Laredo Morning Times

If he wanted to turn his teammates against him, he succeeded. Harden also reportedly flung a ball at rookie Jae’Sean Tate as he took things too far. In the end, the Rockets didn’t care that he left because he ruined it for everyone. It’s a shame because he was brilliant for the Rockets before it went downhill (via Black Sports Online).

Bleacher Report

Leaving Oklahoma

This is a complicated one because Harden outgrew Oklahoma in the same way that Anthony Davis outgrew New Orleans. However, the fact remains that he left the Thunder because they wouldn’t offer him enough money. That’s fair enough because it’s a short career but he ruined it for his teammates (via Deadspin).

The Oklahoman

The Westbrook-Harden-Durant axis came to an end and the Thunder took a decade to recover. To be fair, this was Oklahoma’s fault too because it was a terrible trade and they got no value from it. We can’t be harsh on Harden here because it was the right move for his career but he was garbage when they played in the NBA Finals.


The Paul Relationship

Harden and Chris Paul have a notoriously bad relationship. The pair went almost two months without speaking to each other during Paul’s final season with the Rockets. In the end, Harden allegedly issued a ‘him-or-me’ ultimatum to the Houston front office. Later, Paul acknowledged that they don’t have a good bond.


He told Chris Haynes (via Bleacher Report): “He’s not going to hit me to tell my daughter Happy Birthday today. We don’t talk, communicate, nothing like that. But that’s all good and well, I wish him the best.” Paul had a mature response but Harden ruined it for his team by forcing the best point guard in the sport out of the franchise.

New York Post

2020 Playoffs

‘The Beard’ has a notoriously bad postseason record with only a single NBA Finals on his resume. He has a long, unfortunate history of underperforming and underwhelming when it counts. In 2020, he had one of his worst playoff games ever against his old team Oklahoma City (via ABC 13).

The Guardian

The seven-game series saw Harden flatter to deceive in the final match. Everybody expected a clutch performance but instead, he delivered an 11.1 percent shooting display. Luckily for Harden, Eric Gordon and Robert Covington had the games of their lives. But Harden almost ruined it for everyone.


The Brooklyn Failure

Harden failed to hit his lofty heights in Brooklyn after he arrived with incredible hype. Many analysts projected that the Nets would win the NBA Championship. They had a brilliant trio in Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Harden. But their inability to gel ruined it for everybody.

NBC Sports

The former Houston player was a big part of this because he was unfit and resented that he wasn’t the main man. Later he said:  “There was just a lot of dysfunction, clearly. There were a lot of internal things that I’m not going to ever just say or put in the media or anything, and that was one of the reasons why I chose to make my decision (via The Guardian).”

Fox Sports

I Am A System

It’s impossible to overstate Harden’s self-obsession and selfishness. The three-time scoring champion forced an exit from Brooklyn because he made himself unbearable. His teammates didn’t care in the end because he wasn’t willing to put them first. Check out what he said about the Sixers putting him on a leash.

AP Photo

Harden said (via Fast Philly Sports): “When I mean a leash, I don’t mean just shooting the basketball every time. I think the game and I’m a creator on the court. And I need somebody that trusts me, that believes in me, that understands me, that I’m not a system player. I am a system.”


Fan Disrespect

Harden doesn’t care about fans and he never has. He always puts himself first and makes no bones about this. But when he angers fanbases it creates a toxic atmosphere for everybody, including his teammates. Harden ruined it for them when he engaged in a contract holdout in 2023.


“James Harden can’t come back to Philly, the fans aren’t going to have it,” Charles Barkley said (via Bleacher Report). “When you play for a team, you have an obligation to the fanbase. He didn’t show up to work for 10 days. You can’t just take time off because you’re unhappy and you’re not getting traded.”


2019 Playoffs

Even when the Rockets won in the playoffs, Harden failed to live up to expectations. He had one of the worst games of his career in part three of the first-round series against the Utah Jazz. His stat line was the stuff of nightmares as he tried to ruin it for his teammates again.

Yes, he scored 22 points but 14 of these came from the free-throw line. He missed a ludicrous number of shots as the Rockets scraped a victory. This is the story of Harden’s postseason record because he isn’t a clutch performer. That’s the difference between him and the all-time greats (via CBS Sports).


Main Character Energy

One reason why Harden wanted to leave Philadelphia is because he resented playing second-fiddle to Joel Embiid. The big Cameroonian is the main man in the City of Brotherly Love. Harden led the league in assists but Embiid’s MVP prowess meant that he was their main scoring threat.

The Sixers hoped that Harden and Embiid would rebound in 2023 in their pursuit of championship glory. But Harden ruined it for everybody because of his selfish nature. He refused to back down and pushed to leave the team. It’s easy to see why many teams struggle to trust Harden because he leaves teams in flux.

The Sports Rush

Hamstring Problems

We’ve spoken at length about Harden’s character already, but what about his physical issues? ‘The Beard’ is a brilliant player and that’s why he’s a 10-time All-Star. This isn’t a revisionist hit piece that’s trying to say he was never good. However, he’s aging and his body isn’t as reliable as before (via Sportsnet).

San Diego Union-Tribune

Harden has a particular problem with hamstring issues. One of these affected his abilities during the playoffs for the Nets. He has suffered at least four serious hamstring injuries over the years and now he’s in his mid-30s. Let’s hope the Clippers know how to handle this because it could be a problem.

Basketball Network

The Houston System

Houston went all-in on Harden because they played to his strengths. That’s also why they were willing to trade Chris Paul. Harden prospers in isolation and prefers to dominate the ball. This is great during the regular season but historically it hasn’t worked for him in the playoffs.


However, former Houston GM Daryl Morey built a team around Harden to allow him to be his best. That’s why he became an MVP and a three-time scoring champion. But in the end, he abandoned them and left them in the lurch. Harden ruined it for his teammates and forced them to rebuild (via NBC Sports).

New York Times

2018 NBA Playoffs

Harden set records in the 2018 playoffs but none of them were good. He missed 48 three-pointer attempts in the Western Conference Finals, an accolade he understandably didn’t want. Game Five saw him miss 11 attempts as he had an on-court meltdown. It was a garbage display and Steph Curry made him look even worse.

The New York Times

Meanwhile, he went five of 21 from open play as he failed to perform. Harden’s sinking form was a primary reason why Golden State won the West and made the Finals. He didn’t deliver in the final game of the series either as he proved he’s not a clutch playoff performer (via The Ringer).


Daryl Morey Is A Liar

Harden rocked the Sixers franchise when he ranted about their president Daryl Morey in China. “Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of,” Harden said (via ESPN). “Let me say that again: Daryl Morey is a liar and I will never be a part of an organization he’s a part of.”

Sporting News

This went down like a lead balloon and created a taut situation. The problem is that Harden has such a bad history of creating problems at every team he plays for. It’s difficult for his teammates to respect him because he ruined it for them. Ironically, he joined Philly because of his close relationship with Morey, a former Rockets GM.

CBS Sports

2023 Playoff Failures

Harden played horribly in his final playoff series for the Sixers against Boston in 2023. He scored 22 points in the final two games as he failed to meet expectations. Some people believed that he ruined it for his teammates because he carried so much hype into the playoffs (via The Mirror).

New York Times

Scott Van Pelt ranted about the Harden situation in Philadelphia. He said: “The glaring disappearances in massive spots in the playoffs, that’s on Harden. And who’s lining up to give a pile for that, knowing that if it gets sideways – which it inevitably seems to do – he’ll just say that he wants out again.”


The Houston Debacle

Harden was an icon in Houston before he unceremoniously handed in a trade request. Then he showed how much he cared about the fans when he partied in Atlanta and Las Vegas. He tried to say that he traveled to prepare for the new season but that’s difficult to do from a nightclub in Sin City.

Fox Sports

The Beard ruined it for everybody because he was a megastar there. In his final game for the team against the Lakers, he put his teammates on full blast. He insisted that they weren’t good enough and that he had taken them as far as he could. It’s typical of Harden because he does this with every team (via Forbes).


Out of Shape

It’s a bare minimum for professional athletes to keep themselves in shape. However, Harden hasn’t always been good at doing this and this caused problems in Philadelphia. His fitness issues created a rift between himself and Kevin Durant who expected better from his teammate.


Allegedly, Durant even told Harden about his concerns but Harden didn’t want to hear it. It’s not the first time that he had weight problems because he reportedly stopped training when he forced his Houston exit. Harden ruined it for himself because he didn’t do his job properly (via Sports Illustrated).

2015 Playoffs

Harden played a crucial role in dragging the Rockets to the Conference finals in 2015. He was brilliant until they met the Warriors who took a 3-0 series lead. But then Harden exploded into life for 45 points as he gave the Rockets a fighting chance. Everyone thought that it was finally that time but he then ruined it.


The shooting guard immediately went off a cliff in the next game as the pressure became too much. Harden isn’t a clutch playoff performer and proved it again. It’s a shame because he has so much talent but his teammates can’t trust him because of his attitude and temperament (via Sportskeeda).

L.A. Times

Worst Nightmare

Skip Bayless thinks that Harden has already ruined it for his new Clippers teammates. The outspoken broadcaster has no faith in Harden and believes the player will break hearts again. To be fair, Bayless has a point because Harden has a clear recent history of burning bridges (via Sportskeeda).

Front Office Sports

Bayless said: “Tonight if you wanna dress up as somebody who will scare people, dress up as James Harden. He is now in his fourth team in 22 months and he has quit his way out of three teams. I do not doubt that at some point fairly soon he will quit his way out of his hometown.”

Sky Sports

All About Me

Harden is a hypocrite because he complained about the lack of structure in Brooklyn but he refused to follow the rules. He had issues with the franchise’s sports science department when it came to recovery. Harden wanted to do stair runs after games and other intense physical workouts but they wanted him to rest.


Somehow Harden still never reached full fitness because he wouldn’t commit to the regime. “I don’t mean to, like, just down talk to anybody or whatever. It was just, there was no structure, and even superstars, they need structure,” Harden said (via Sports Illustrated). “That’s what allows us to be the best players and leaders for our respective organizations.”

ABC News

The Philly Standoff

Harden left Philadelphia under the darkest cloud possible. First of all, he convinced Daryl Morey to fire Doc Rivers. Then he complained about the lack of communication between him and the front office. He underwhelmed in the postseason but the Sixers had a chance to lick their wounds and bounce back.


Imagine an entirely focused Harden and Embiid with massive chips on their shoulders. Instead, Harden forced his way out of a contender as he followed Kyrie Irving’s footsteps. That’s a bad look and shows how selfish he is. Harden ruined it for everyone because he only cares about the bottom line (via Deadspin).