In a recent interview at the Rockets press conference, Tyson Chandler who is now a member of the Houston Rockets this summer, said the rise of James Harden as the best basketball player in the world is something Kobe Bryant predicted back in 2011. In a lockout-shortened season in 2011, James Harden and Kobe Bryant played against each other in a pick-up game where they both put on a show for the crowd. Chandler said this game was a proof for Bryant that Harden will be the next big thing in the NBA.
“He’s come a long (way,). I have nothing but respect for any guys I see come in and the talent they have, maximize it. Kobe told me during the lockout. We were playing pickup and James was there. Kobe was like, after a pickup game, we were sitting down, icing, he was like, “He’s going to be the next one after me.’
Chandler said he was surprised by the things Bryant said about Harden right after the game, however, he believes Harden deserves all the success coming his way because of the hard work he is putting each day in improving his game.
“I was like, “Really?” This was a young James. (Kobe) was like, he’s going to be the next one after me.’ ‘If you say so. You know better than anybody.’ And he’s proven it. James, the work that he’s put in to get to the level he’s at now, fighting for MVP every year, you have to take your hat off to that. You don’t just get there. That’s work. That’s a lot of work, that is not seen, behind closed doors.”