James Harden was at an Adidas event, talking to a group of kids when a young boy asked him what we've been wondering for a long time. "What made you do that traveling step-back?" All the kids laughed. "It's a travel, everybody sees it."
Harden argued it's not a travel if the refs didn't call it. The kid didn't let go: "Yeah, but they didn't see it." The discussion continued with Harden repeating that there are three refs on the court and if it were a travel, they would've called it by now.
"In the NBA, especially at the highest level of basketball, you got to find ways to get better every single year. You got to find ways to create an advantage every single year. And that's what I'm doing. It's not a travel."
We've expressed our skepticism of Harden's traveling and foul hunting more than once. It may be within the rules, but it is against the spirit of the game. Now we learned that James isn't stopping there and will give us more material to dissect and be frustrated about.
"This year, I'm going to come up with something more creative and it's gonna look like a travel but it's not. Honestly! ... So until they call it a travel, if they start calling it, I'll continue to find ways and find ways to get creative and make my impact on the game."
The last part is key here: "...until they call it a travel..." A competitor like Harden will look for any advantage he can get and until the league starts calling it, he has an incentive to take it to the next level. It will be interesting to see how far he goes before the refs start calling it.