Brooklyn Nets star James Harden seemingly spent the last offseason going to clubs and hanging out. Luckily, he didn’t want to be in Houston at the time. So, being in shape ahead of the season wasn’t a top priority.
Now, his 2021 offseason is starting with a bang as a video emerged of Paris police frisking the 6-foot-5 guard. The law enforcement officers did not arrest Harden, although several of his friends, including rapper Lil’ Baby, did get detained.
James Harden is in Paris for Fashion Week
Harden planned to play in the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo with Nets teammate Kevin Durant. However, the hamstring injury that kept him out of three-plus games in the Eastern Conference semifinals and severely limited him for in three more also kept him out of the Olympics. The Athletic’s Shams Charania announced on Twitter on June 23 that Harden withdrew from Team USA.
Instead of jetting to Japan, Harden took a trip to Paris for its Fashion Week. During his time in the French capital, the basketball player is hanging out with rappers Lil’ Baby and Kanye West, according to reports by Yahoo! Sports.
Paris Fashion Week started July 5 and runs for four days. The semiannual event features high-end fashion shows all around the city. This season’s events include showcases by designers such as Dior, Chanel, Fendi, and Balenciaga, per NY Daily News.
Paris police stopped Harden but did not arrest him
The police drama with Harden and his crew started in the late afternoon, Paris local time. According to the French news outlet Le Parisien, the incident began with a traffic stop:
At 4:50 p.m. exactly, at 33 avenue Montaigne, local police checked the three passengers of a vehicle that smelled strongly of cannabis. Among them, the artist Dominique Jones, better known as Lil Baby. During the search of the vehicle by a judicial police officer, approximately 20 g of herbal cannabis was discovered in the passenger compartment.
Harde was not in the car at the time of the event. He was on the street at the time and came over to intervene. This was when the police frisked Harden. It seems as though the police found nothing on the former Arizona State star because they let him go.
Officers did arrest Lil’ Baby and two others in the car for transporting narcotics. This is not the first time (or country) the rapper ran into issues with the law around marijuana. The French media reports that “Lil Baby has been arrested several times for possession of marijuana and even jailed in the United States.”
The only team that can beat the Brooklyn Nets is the Brooklyn Nets
When the Brooklyn traded for Harden and added him to Durant and Kyrie Irving, it put together a team that, talent-wise, on par with the Durant-Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson Golden State Warriors and the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh Miami Heat.
As NBA fans have seen, there may not be another franchise that can beat the Nets on the court. The Brooklyn stars and their bodies are the only things that can stop this super-team, and, so far, these things have.
Injury-wise, Harden, Durant, and Irving played in 36, 35, and 54 regular-season games, respectively, for the Nets in the 2021 season. The team still captured the No. 2 seed in the East. In the playoffs, however, Harden’s hamstring and Irving’s severely sprained ankle left Durant basically alone versus the Milwaukee Bucks, who beat them in seven games.
While there is no indication Harden did anything wrong at all, his international incident is indicative of the drama that surrounds Brooklyn’s star trio.
Irving took several non-injury-related sabbaticals during the season, raising questions about his commitment to playing professional basketball. Durant can’t stay away from constant social media controversy.
The Nets will be the favorite to win the NBA Finals in 2022. It may not be a good bet, though, because of the strong chance their bodies or one of the group betrays them. For Harden, the next dates to beware are September 9-15: New York Fashion Week.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference