By now everyone in the NBA world has seen James Harden’s devastating crossover of Wesley Johnson from Wednesday night. It lit up social media and was the highlight of a 105-92 win, Houston’s 14th straight.
If you didn’t see it live, it’s tough to describe the context in which the crossover went down. Harden and the Rockets were dominating the Clippers, the point guard outscoring the home team by himself in the first quarter. Then Harden ruined Johnson’s life, stared him down, and drained a three, almost as if to say ‘this is too easy.’
From there the game never felt in doubt, and the reactions from other NBA players have been really interesting. Harden himself said he wasn’t trying to show up Johnson with his staredown, he was mostly confused. That’s entirely possible, by the way, as that kind of reaction to a move like that isn’t common. LeBron James called it a move you “dream” about, and Joel Embiid told reporters on Thursday that it was downright “disrespectful.”
“I thought it was very disrespectful,” Embiid said, smiling. “But that was a great move, but I thought it was disrespectful. At the same time, I enjoyed it.”
Embed said he’s never been crossed up like that before, and he’s thankful for that.
“I’m kinda glad I’ve never gotten crossed over and I fell. In that situation you’re already on the ground. There’s really nothing else you can do but laugh it off and hopefully hope that he misses the shot. But James obviously made the shot.”
In a way, “It was disrespectful but I also enjoyed it” is pretty much Embiid’s whole aesthetic, so this makes sense. Still, you can tell he’s conflicted here. Everyone wants to cross someone up that badly, but the court monster comes for every player eventually. It hasn’t for Embiid, but he knows the moment he slips up, everyone will be ready to react to it like they did to Johnson’s misstep on Wednesday night.