Houston Rockets James Harden and Patrick Beverley spoke at All-Star Media Day on Friday. Here is a a sampling of what they said.
- What was it like being included here?
JAMES HARDEN: Unbelievable experience. First time here. Kind of seen it on TV. To see all the chaos going on in a good way. It was great. Amazing.
Q. Does it concern you at all — do you have any concerns as players that there’s too much money in the game of basketball? Does it ever worry you, you guys?
JAMES HARDEN: No. It’s not something I worry about. I go out there and control what I can control. I play basketball and veer off and do other things.
Q. You’re known for your clothing endorsement deals. Which endorsement deals do you have? I know you have Foot Locker. I know you do for the higher end threads.
JAMES HARDEN: Bloomingdale’s, collaboration with them. Just trying to expand. Trying to expand in the right ways. Making sure my brand is going in a positive direction and something that I like. If I like it and the partnership likes me as well, it works out a lot better.
Q. Exclusively with Bloomingdales or are you going to work with other stores as well?
JAMES HARDEN: Right now with Bloomingdale’s. Others I’m not sure.
Q. And Foot Locker as well?
JAMES HARDEN: Foot Locker is always going to be there.
Q. What is the difference in an All-Star having a very good year and what makes an MVP?
JAMES HARDEN: Yeah. All-Star is obviously you are playing well, you’re one of the top guys in the league. And the MVP is you’re playing — you feel like you can’t be touched. For me it’s just about confidence. Confidence, being strong, going out there and sacrificing, doing whatever it takes for my team to win. Also playing at a high level and holding myself accountable offensively and defensively to go out there and make sure that I’m going to play.
Q. Were there guys you’ve seen this year that you say, he took that step from great player to MVP kind of player?
JAMES HARDEN: I witnessed it: KD. I witnessed it with KD. I was there firsthand. So just to see him grow step by step and see him go from one of the best players in the league to MVP was just motivation. It was motivation for me to try to go out there and take my game to another level.
Q. Talking about that and seeing you and KD both up there in the Stock Exchange today. Where you guys come from, is that crazy?
JAMES HARDEN: That’s my right-hand man. I’ve learned so much from him. He’s going through a tough time right now battling all these injuries. But he’s a strong-minded person. He’s going to battle through it and fight through it. I try to send him text messages to give him motivation and courage to get back on the court. He’ll be 100%. Obviously he gets back on the court and scores 40 points and only misses five shots. That’s really unheard of.
Q. To stand up there in the New York Stock Exchange, do you think about how far you guys have come together?
JAMES HARDEN: Yeah. Yeah. Even though we’re not on the same team, we still feel like we’re tight. We’re close. It’s only going to get better for him. Just to still be with him and still standing, it’s a great feeling.
Q. Are you excited about being in the three-point competition?
JAMES HARDEN: Of course. You guys, Steph and Klay and Kyle Korver, Wes Matthews, all those guys are top of the league. J.J. Redick. That’s what those guys do. They shoot — it’s my first time. I’m a little nervous. I’ll work on my mechanics and go out there and shoot the ball.
Q. Will you seek any advice from anybody?
JAMES HARDEN: They’re definitely not going to give me any advice. I’m going to have to go out there and do it.
Q. Even without Dwight you guys have remained one of the top teams in the Western Conference. How have you done it?
JAMES HARDEN: Will. Dwight brings so much to our team. We’re going to miss him. I hope he gets back soon. Guys like Joey Dorsey, Josh Smith, guys are going to have a lot of opportunities. Opportunities to play a lot of minutes. And we’re going to need you. So be prepared mentally and physically to go out there and contribute and do a great job.
- You guys share that intensity. You enjoy the spotlight on it. James wants to hang in the background. How do you think it is for him to step into that spot?
PATRICK BEVERLEY: He’s done a great job. He’s the reason everyone has been following. It’s like we wanted to have a dominant player for years. To have a player like that on your team, you can get caught up sometimes and kind of take it for granted. We’re extremely happy about the unit. We need to be better with certain things on our team. With him behind you saving the day most of the time, it’s easier.