James Harden’s Unique Confidence: Scoring In the Post-Modern

“So if he’s so shy and unassuming, why does Harden treat the basketball court like a stage? “You’re dealing with a person who’s so eclectic, so unique, that he just doesn’t fit into the natural expectations,” says Presti. “There’s an artistry to the way he plays the game. He’s expressing himself out there. I think someday after basketball is over he’s going to realize he has an artistic trait, that he’s naturally a great painter or something. You have to have a unique confidence to be who he is.”

Jordan Conn on your favorite rising star. (Grantland).

As a sixth-man break out who can dominate a game, Manu Ginobili may be the original James Harden, but James Harden may become the consummate post-modern Ginobili. I love both those player and both these teams, but Harden occupies a unique spot in the NBA’s liminal space.  It’s not about the beard or about being eccentric.  It’s about artistry and, as Conn suggests, self-awareness.  And we love self-awareness, especially when it empowers us to excel.  LeBron James gets dogged for having the other kind of self-awareness, though I have to say: his routine with Kevin Garnett last night was, for me, refreshing.

As far as the Spurs/Thunder series goes, I’m just hoping everyone stays healthy.  I love the idea of the Spurs winning one more title, but  but I also love the idea of the Thunder realizing their potential.  These are both very special teams.

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