Two months after the 2018-19 NBA Awards were revealed, Houston Rockets superstar James Harden opened up about not winning his second consecutive Kia MVP.
In a radio interview with 97.9 The Box, Harden described his most recent campaign as “one for the books” and believes a media-constructed narrative impacted his chance at finishing atop the MVP race.
“Once the media, they create a narrative about somebody from the beginning of the year, I think they just take that narrative and just run with it the entire year,” Harden said during the in-studio interview. “I don’t want to get into details. All I can do is control what I can do, and I went out there and did what I was supposed to do at a high level. There’s only a few other seasons that anybody has ever done that before.”
Harden set a boatload of historic records throughout the season — including a 32-game streak with at least 30 points, a run that ranks second in NBA history behind only Wilt Chamberlain (65) — but ultimately, the 29-year-old finished as runner-up to Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo in the MVP voting.
“People were tuned in to how many points I was going to score the next game,” Harden continued. “It was a thing. But I can’t control that. The only thing I can control is coming back next year and being better than I was, and winning a ‘chip.”
The Rockets added another former MVP this offseason after trading away Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, who, coincidentally, beat out Harden for the prestigious award in 2017.
With a revamped backcourt and a flurry of core players returning, Houston hopes to build on last season’s 53-win campaign and contend for a championship.
“There’s only one goal,” Harden said. “Every year, one goal. I do what I do on the court for us to win. That’s it.”