James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 10, 2017 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

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James Harden Has Blossomed Into NBA’s Most Exciting Player

Harden will make $28 million from the Houston Rockets this season, plus $15 million more from Adidas.

One of the recent giants James Harden is taking on isn’t on the basketball court. In 2016, he signed with Trolli, a candymaker that is the arch-nemsis of Haribo (essentially the Golden State Warriors of the Gummi world). Though Harden is making $28 million from the Houston Rockets this season and $15 million more from an Adidas deal, it is clear his favorite benefactor is Trolli. Harden told GQ that his creative process with Trolli is that the company comes up with some pretty ridiculous idea and Harden always says he will do it. GQ writes that it seems pretty typical for Harden to zag while everyone else zigs. When asked if weirdness is really a recipe for knocking down a giant, Harden answered:

“It’s not gonna happen overnight. The more you work, the more you figure out how to be great. Just keep adjusting, keep adapting. Our goal is to be the best. Not the best who’s out right now, but the best. You know, longevity.”

Harden may have been talking about candy in that moment, but the message rings far and wide in his life. He has never shied from taking on giants, like the Heatles in 2012 or Golden State in 2016. Last year, Harden turned into an MVP-caliber player. This year, he’s even better. He has had help from Chris Paul, but GQ writes that the real leap was taken by Harden himself. He embodies “all the pleasures of the modern NBA.” He isn’t the tallest or fastest and when everyone else in the league is trying to go faster, Harden is the best at slowing down. “No, stopping,” he clarified to GQ. “That’s why it’s so hard to guard me—because I’m able to get you off-balance, use my body, then stop on a dime and still get my shot. That’s tough, you know?”

Read the full story at GQ