The Masked Beard!#WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/DJrp23M5TL
— NBA (@NBA) July 17, 2020
Dwight Howard caught heat for not wearing a mask in ‘The Bubble’, and now James Harden is facing the opposite reaction.
Harden arrived at the NBA compound in Orlando on Thursday night and caused a stir on social media when he showed up wearing a mask with an American flag and a thin blue line, a design meant to show support for law enforcement in America in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
When the former MVP was asked about the mask, he said he did not know the significance of the design, saying he wore it because of how well it covered his face and uber-famous beard.
More from James Harden on the mask he wore yesterday: “I felt like it was something that covered my whole face, my beard. The masks that I’ve worn before kind of stopped right here..It was something that just covered my whole beard.” pic.twitter.com/sLnLXvu6Yj
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 17, 2020
Harden isn’t known for making political statements, but did speak out in support of a BLM march in Houston earlier in the day on Thursday.
“The way the city rallied, it was amazing,” he said in a video conference call with reporters. “I think the world saw it. How so many people could come together. Obviously it was for a tragic reason, but the marching and everything we’re standing for is very powerful.”
He reiterated this point on Friday when he was under fire for the mask.
“It’s pretty simple,” said. “As I clearly talked about yesterday, me finding a way — whether it’s my jersey name, or another way, to show my support for Black Lives Matter.”
“Honestly, in every profession, there are people that honestly do their job at a high level,” Harden continued. “And then there’s BS people, in every profession. That was it. I wasn’t there to make a political statement.”
The Rockets will play their first game on July 30 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
📸 @NBA pic.twitter.com/PFsIuJybYb
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) July 17, 2020