“He got the fat-boy traits…He wasn’t bulls***ting” Iman Shumpert believes James Harden is not to blame for being out of shape

James Harden was heavily criticized for Philadelphia 76ers' exit from the playoff, especially his weight gain. But Iman Shumpert supports his former Rockets teammate and gave insight of the situations.

Iman Shupert defending Fat James Harden
Iman Shupert defending Fat James Harden

James Harden, ever since he has left the Houston Rockets, has often been criticized and spoke-ill off because of his increasing weight which has evidently affected his speed, agility and shooting. With many blaming the former MVP time and again, his former teammate Iman Shumpert gives an insight into the situation and explains that James should not be blamed for that.

James Harden is one of the elite guards with quick feet and nice shooting range. He could pass the ball and drive to the rim with ease – making him one of the fearsome offensive players in the league. But lately, his form and more importantly fewer amounts of attempts were targeted by critics. Especially they have understood the “weight gain” as the root cause of it all. Out of shape Harden couldn’t perform for the news teams he went in and it cost them a lot. On the same note, his former teammate Iman Shumpert provided some insights into the situation.

Siding with his Houston Rocket teammate, Shumpert pointed out the hamstring injury has altered James Harden’s routine and workouts causing the weight gain. As everyone can understand that with a hamstring problem, no athlete can do much cardio and that would eventually result in weight gain.

James Harden
James Harden

Weight gain could be a major stumbling block for James Harden and his championship aspirations

The Brooklyn Nets Big-3 of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden
The Brooklyn Nets Big-3 of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden

After requesting a trade from Houston Rockets, Harden joined hands with an offensive duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. But things couldn’t work out as expected. As a result of which, Harden moved to Philadelphia 76ers to help in-form Joel Embiid and the team win it all. Playing few regular-season games and 2 playoff series, Harden showed he can be a dominant force at times but still couldn’t justify his hefty price tag. Dealing with lingering hamstring issues, the former scoring champion looked to be out of shape in the entire 2021-22 season. Many wondered if he could regain the form that made him one of the league’s best offensive weapons and a league MVP in 2018.

During an interview with 2016 NBA Champion, Iman Shupert said Harden shouldn’t have been blamed for his apparent weight gain. Shumpert said that players with hamstring injuries aren’t able to do cardio, so it’s not a surprise when some put on weight.

He said, “It’s James, bro. … He’s never been skinny, Doesn’t matter (that) he was a little heavy. You can’t do cardio on a hamstring, bro. It’s like the one thing you can’t do right. Y’all mad at the man for having a hamstring injury and then putting on some weight. That’s what I’m saying, like. He is a human.”

Iman Shumpert
Iman Shumpert

Supporting his teammate, and understanding the talent “The Beard” possesses Shumpert added, “Yeah, his hamstring was hurt, he can’t do cardio. He’s gonna gain a little weight, man. I know y’all see it. He got the fat-boy traits. … I think that being able to finish healthy and get his body back right confirmed to me that he wasn’t bullshitting. The man just hurt his hamstring, so rest was more important than the cardio”

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What does the future hold for James Harden?

James Harden and Joel Embiid at Philadelphia 76ers
James Harden and Joel Embiid at Philadelphia 76ers

Member of NBA’s 75th-anniversary team, Harden is certainly a millennial talent. He had put up huge numbers in the past and has every arsenal to score. Though his attempts and shooting efficiency had gone a bit southwards, he made more efforts in playmaking, keeping the scoreboard moving for the team.

After exiting the 2022 playoffs, many wondered about Harden’s situation at the Philly, who has a player option for north of $47.3 million after the conclusion of next season. Giving the combo another go, it’s been speculated that the 76ers will look to sign the 32-year-old guard to an extension this summer. And to give some positive vibes to that, James has hit the gym, working to get back in shape and form a dynamic duo with Joel Embiid once again. 76ers fans will be hoping for the best from Harden as the pair was looking promising this season.

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