Your wish has been granted, James Harden. The likes of Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and Paul George gone from Team USA, it is now up to Harden to lead the squad into the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Harden and Anthony Davis are the only ones left over from the 2012 London Olympics team. USA Basketball head honcho Jerry Colangeo is thrilled with the Houston Rockets All-Star guard’s leadership abilities. Per the WaPo:
“Right now, I think I would look to Harden as that leader,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said as his team continues to prepare for the tournament in which the winner earns an automatic berth in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “Harden is kind of a natural leader and he seems to be willing to accept that role. And you can just kind of feel it and sense. He’s the one.”
The United States will open the FIBA World Cup on Saturday against Finland in Bilbao, Spain, and Harden is excited to be looked upon for more than he was in 2012, when he played the second-fewest minutes of any player on the gold medal-winning unit. [...] “It’s so many things these last couple of years that’s been thrown at me, from me being traded, to people talking, just everything,” Harden said. “I try to focus on myself and how can I be a better basketball player. It’s still basketball at the end of the day. I try to do it to the best of my ability and continue to work hard.”
“I think everybody feels that way. Every NBA player. Even growing up, growing up youngins have dreams that they want to be the best basketball players in the world,” Harden said [when asked about calling himself the very best player in the world.] “As a basketball player, or any athlete, you got to have confidence, you’ve got to have confidence the whole time. You just go out there and do your job and have confidence that your abilities are good enough. Whatever is thrown at me, I just try to take it for what it is and just have fun.”