Antoine Walker reveals why James Harden is not making a ‘conscious effort to be a champion’

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Reflecting on James Harden's failure to advance the Houston Rockets past the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 NBA Western Conference Finals, Antoine Walker reveals why he believes Harden is not making a 'conscious effort to be a champion.' How does this affect LeBron's free agency decision?

- Problem is you have to think about, LeBron James, first of all, him going to Houston is totally different from when KD went there. When he goes to Houston, he's actually putting on that team where-- when he went to Miami, he tried to get guys to come to Cleveland. And people don't understand that.


- He actually tried to get guys to come to Cleveland and say, come play with me. Nobody want to live in Cleveland. I'm gonna just keeping it real.

And free agency, if I got a choice to go to Miami or Cleveland, I'm going to Miami. That's just how guys think. Guys want a little nightlife when they go play in the city too. They want to be able to go to a nice restaurant.

- Yes.

- Want to able to step out.

- Nice weather too.

- Cleveland don't offer that. So LeBron James was kind of stuck. So he went to a situation where Dwyane Wayne and Chris Bosh, he can get in with those guys. But I also saw a clip yesterday where they talked about winning seven, eight titles.

You know, you go to Houston, is James Harden really trying to win a title? I mean, we know he wants to get there. Is that a main objective of his to win a title? Chris Paul, yes. You know this.

- What do you think his main objective is? The numbers, the accolades?

- Well, I think, when you don't make the adjustments that he needed to make in this year's playoffs, after going what he went through last year, I don't necessarily know if he's that concerned. Now this was a press conference afterwards. I'm not saying he has to be on TV crying and boohooing. But it just, it seemed like a level of, like, I'm disappointed.


- And I'm sure he may have went home and been very disappointed around his family and friends. But it just didn't seem right to me. Because when you shoot 27 3's and miss them, and you're the best player on the floor-- supposed to be one of the best players on the floor-- and you don't change that, I just think you're not really making that conscious effort to be a champion.

- So well, that's a hell of a statement about James Harden, who's gonna win the league MVP this year. And I think a lot of people share this sentiment, which is, for some reason, there is a part of Harden that people have questioned is, how important is this to him? I don't think you can get as good as he is at the difficult parts of basketball without it being incredibly important to you.

- No, no, no, no. There's a lot of athletes out there. They're into the benefits of them being good, compared to being on a team that's great.

NICK WRIGHT: But here's the thing--

- So I don't, I believe you can work hard because of the individual benefits you're going to have.

- Right. But he got the biggest individual benefit you can get, which is the supermax contract. And after that, embraced Chris Paul. After that, embraced the things that led the Rockets--

- Well, he had no chance to win in the west.

- Right. But I'm saying-- that's to my point, which is I do think winning's important to James Harden. Now--

- No, winning on a championship level. There's different levels of winning. How much are you willing to sacrifice?

And guys-- and what he's saying is, the people he's been around, the superstars that he's been around, he's seen more of a sacrifice in what they're doing and in their game development to try to get that. He hadn't seen that with Harden. That's why he puts it in a question.

- Think about it. You believe those guys are gonna all take a back seat? Dwyane Wade was a great, you know, Robin. And then Chris Bosh was efficient with 10, 11, 12 shots.

Can Chris Paul be efficient with 12 shots? Can James Harden be efficient with 12 shots? We don't know that. You look at the big three that they put together in OKC. All three of those guys are gonna be Hall-of-Famers.

They were a disappointment, OKC. There's no way you put those three guys on paper, if you say these three guys are gonna beat the other, you're thinking championship. Westbrook almost won as many games by himself the year before, by himself, and you bring those guys on the team.

So it's just, it's a lot of guys' mentality. We can always say, fit does matter and mindset does matter. LeBron James has to go to a place where other guys want to win championships, understand his legacy, and want to be on that same wavelength. And every player in the league is not on that.