The NBA and the Houston Rockets are examining video of James Harden partying maskless in a strip club to see if the disgruntled All-Star violated the league’s COVID-19 protocols, ESPN reported Wednesday.
The video, published by Black Sports Online, allegedly originated at a Christmas party this week at a club in Houston.
The Rockets and NBA are working to verify that it is a recent video.
James Harden: Event wasn’t at a strip club
Harden posted a statement on Instagram on Wednesday denying that he was at a strip club.
“One thing after another. I went to show love to my homegirl at her event (not a strip club) because she is becoming a boss and putting her people in position of success and now it’s a problem,” he wrote.
“Everyday it’s something different. No matter how many times people try to drag my name under you can’t. The real always end on top.”
Harden’s availability for the Rockets’ Wednesday night season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder is now in question, per the report. The NBA’s COVID-19 protocol prohibits players from going to bars, lounges or nightclubs and from participating in social gatherings of more than 15 people.
An eight-time All-Star and the league’s three-time defending scoring champion, Harden has been a constant fixture in the news cycle for weeks over his stated desire to be traded to a contender.
The 31-year-old guard reported a week late to training camp and only played in two of Houston’s four preseason games.
Harden reportedly clashing with teammates
The Athletic reported Tuesday that Harden had been involved in several verbal confrontations with teammates in practice, even throwing a basketball at one player.
In 11 NBA seasons, Harden has averaged 25.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 833 career games. He spent his first three seasons with the Thunder, after becoming the No. 3 overall selection in the 2009 draft.
Harden averaged 34.3 points with 6.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists over 68 games last season.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)