On Monday (Nov. 16), it was reported that Houston Rockets player James Harden turned down the chance to become the first $50 million per year player in NBA history. Now, reports say his desire to leave can partially be attributed to the owner’s support of Donald Trump.
As TMZ reported, NBA reporter Ric Bucher revealed the news on “The Odd Couple” podcast. According to Bucher, tensions have been brewing in the league as players disagree with owner Tilman Fertitta’s connections to the Republican Party.
As REVOLT previously reported, the NBA made a few adjustments when games in the bubble were interrupted by the horrific shooting of Jacob Blake. Players initially boycotted their games to demand justice and bring attention to racial inequities and police brutality, later rolling out social justice initiatives and encouraging people to vote. Their attempts to use their platforms wisely were criticized by Trump who condemned their activism.
“They’ve become like a political organization, and that’s not a good thing,” Trump said. “I don’t think that’s a good thing for sports or for the country.”
“The NBA has become so political that nobody cares about it anymore,” he said on another occasion.
With some players’ dislike for Trump, Bucher explained, “There is a revolt here (NBA) because they look at Fertitta as a guy who supports the current president.”
“We know how much politics and political position had to do with the boycott and protests during the bubble — I’m hearing that Tilman Fertitta’s strong Republican support and donations is one of the things that is contributing to this dissatisfaction,” he added.
Per ESPN, the Rockets offered Harden an opportunity to extend his contract for two more years, but the basketball player is interested in making a move to the Brooklyn Nets so that he could join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.