James Harden put the ball behind his back without dribbling and splashed home one of nine 3-pointers in a preseason game Tuesday night against the Shanghai Sharks, an eyebrow-raising move that got the seal of approval from the NBA.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) October 10, 2018
The League responded to speculation about the legality of the maneuver, and said it was perfectly legal.
This is a legal play. Although James puts the ball behind his back, he only takes two steps after the gather of the ball and therefore it is NOT a travel. https://t.co/i1hU3b4zuQ
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) October 10, 2018
Harden, 29, was named the MVP last season.
Per the AP:
Harden led the league by averaging a career-best 30.4 points last season to become Houston’s first MVP since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1994. [Mike] D’Antoni doesn’t see how Harden could get better. But he’s eager to see him try.
“There’s a hunger because he likes to play basketball and he likes to be good,” D’Antoni said. “That’s a hunger that comes from within and no coach could give him that. He has that. He wants to be great. He is already, but he just loves to shoot and practice and develop new things.”