The Rockets guard responded when he spoke to the media on Saturday, calling McHale a “clown” and arguing that he did “anything and everything” his former coach wanted while he was playing for him.
“He’s a clown,” Harden said. “Honestly, I did anything and everything he asked me to do.”
Harden took things a bit further, arguing that McHale wasn’t much of a leader himself.
Honestly, he’s never taught me anything to be a leader but I’ve done a great job. The organization, my coaches have been excellent, those teammates and I have worked extremely hard every single day to be a better basketball player but also be a better leader – there are different types of leaders, as well. To go out there and downplay my name like that, it shows his character. I usually don’t go back-and-forth on social media with anybody or in interviews but I need to stand up for myself. You just don’t do that. It shows what type of person he is.
Harden seemed genuinely upset that McHale was so critical of him. A reporter started to ask if McHale might be “bitter” about his time ended in Houston. He cut the reporter off with a quick “sure” and continued to criticize McHale for his comments.
“I had nothing to do with it,” Harden said. “When you’re here and you’re fact to face and tell me how great of a player I am, how lucky he is to be a part of this process, and then you go back a few years later to say the opposite? This just shows your character, it shows who you really are. I’m not that type of person, I don’t operate that way. I don’t say things to somebody behind their back or tell them one thing then say another thing.”
Harden definitely has a good point here, and McHale’s comments did come off as sour grapes. When coaches come and go there’s always a bit of internal drama, but McHale made it public and Harden had to respond. He’s certainly improved under Mike D’Antoni, so Harden certainly seems better off without his former coach.