James Harden Gets A Massive Welcome In China

Harden is the latest NBA star to tour the country this offseason.

BYBen Mock
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A whole host of NBA stars have headed to China this offseason as the league once again attempts to build a bigger base within the country. China, with its massive population concentration, has been a major target of American sports leagues in recent years. However, the NBA hit a roadblock in their efforts following Daryl Morey's open support for the sovereignty of Hong Kong. Despite this, the NBA is trying to once again build a major base within the nation.

This has included this year's summer tour, with NBA stars dispatched to tour the nation in a show of goodwill. The tour has mostly gone fine, although Jimmy Butler did get a shoe thrown at him. Otherwise, it's been a rousing success for the NBA. However, the latest star to head to the People's Republic is James Harden. The nation was almost unprepared for the level of popularity possessed by the current Sixer.

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Fans Mob James Harden

In videos circulated on social media, Harden can barely be seen amongst the huge crowds of fans waiting for the NBA star. The video, which appears to have been shot in a parking garage, shows Harden greeting a wall of fans holding banners and cheering for him. It's not the first time that Harden was toured China. The then-Rocket did a promotional tour of the country in 2019. During that tour, he was accidentally pulled over by a traffic cop.

However, while China loves the Beard, things are much less secure back home. Harden is still waiting for the Sixers to make good on their promise of trading him. After exercising his player option year, Harden requested a trade to the LA Clippers. While the Sixers have said they intend to honor this request, progress has been slow on moving the veteran. This has led Harden to subtly promise chaos for the team if they don't trade him soon. Despite this, for now, Harden can enjoy a couple of days of adoration as he travels around China.

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About The Author
Benjamin Mock (they/them) is a sports and culture writer working out of Philadelphia. Previously writing for the likes of Fixture, Dexerto, Fragster, and Jaxon, Ben has dedicated themselves to engaging and accessible articles about sports, esports, and internet culture. With a love for the weirder stories, you never quite know what to expect from their work.