James Harden Picks Kobe Bryant as His Goat: ‘Only Person Who Made Me Fall in Love With Game’

James Harden recently talked about his preference for Kobe Bryant as his GOAT. The GOAT debate of basketball often involves the names of LeBron James and Michael Jordan.

Updated on Jun 04, 2024  |  01:40 AM IST |  56.2K
James Harden and Kobe Bryant

While LeBron James and Michael Jordan are often cited as the winners of the GOAT debate, Los Angeles Clippers player James Harden awards that honor to another legend.

When Cyro Asseo de Choch of HoopsHype questioned Harden about his personal GOAT, he gave the title to the late Kobe Bryant.

Kobe Bryant  and James Harden

What was said by James?

Harden said, "I mean, there was only one person who made me love, I mean, fall in love with the game, and that's Kobe Bryant. Being from LA and being a Lakers fan watching him grow up and win several championships and his passion and love and what he did for the game of basketball, I think the world, you know, feels the same way, but that's why I started playing basketball. The skill set and things that I've learned, I kind of picked up on my own, but as far as falling in love with the game, it's been Kobe."

The GOAT debate has, of course, changed in recent years. At the same time, it surprised many last year when Brandon Miller named Paul George, Harden's teammate, as his GOAT.

Harden is an LA native

Harden said, "I just grew up watching him and what he did for the city of LA basketball in general. You know, I mean, it's just for me; it's hit home, and yeah, definitely Kobe."


In the early 2000s, Harden witnessed Bryant help guide the Lakers to three consecutive NBA titles. Harden faced his idol, Kobe Bryant, when he was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Bryant and the Lakers defeated the Thunder in the opening round of the playoffs, and Harden went on to win his fifth championship ring that season.

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