The 2018 NBA MVP Award Is Already In James Harden’s Bag

    James Harden will be the 2018 NBA MVP. Hes been the best player on the best team in the NBA, averaging a league-high 31.2 points per game and providing audiences with lit ankle-breaking highlights from his unstoppable arsenal. 

    The Shadow League on Twitter

    James Harden is a SAVAGE for this.

    Houston leads the league with 57 wins and the addition of Chris Paul has been everything Rockets management imagined when they acquired the future Hall of Fame point guard. He’s provided a defensive edge and a mentality that Harden has tried his best to buy into as he continues to evolve from the player who entered the league as a third-option out of Arizona State behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in OKC. 

    The pains of his early days with the Thunder and the growth hes experienced during his rise in Houston has created an athlete who is not only prolific on the court, fashionable and comfortable in his own quirky skin, but attached to the community and willing to use his celebrity to connect with political leaders, community leaders and the children. 

    Hes a walking inspiration, the perfect guy to hoist the league MVP who represents the principles, passion for the game, character and social conscious of an entire city. 

    Jim Blair on Twitter

    James Harden gives back to his local community by partnering with Adidas to refurbish Audubon Middle School’s gymnasium and basketball courts. Great to see athletes giving back to their local communities. #SportsBiz #NBA #community #givingback #basketball

    We always hear about LeBrons efforts in Akron and the money Kevin Durant has spent to offer college prep programs for the kids of his hometown. Harden has done the same since arriving in Houston, taking on the role of an ambassador for the people and spending hours participating in activities and initiatives that bring other people joy.  

    He donated $1 million to relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. He also met with Houston’s mayor Sylvester Turner to discuss recovery efforts and visited with evacuees sheltered at the George R. Brown Convention Center. 

    At the time, Harden wasnt known for his social consciousness. He still wont be the first guy in line calling Trump a clown or wearing an I Cant Breathe” shirt, but his words in the wake of that devastation showed his growth and an acceptance of his social responsibility as a player and person. 

    Bob Slovak on Twitter

    James Harden celebrating Thanksgiving with families effected by Hurricane Harvey in CE King area. @JHarden13 @abc13houston

    In addition, Hardens been hosting youth basketball camps in the Houston area since he was traded back in 2012. Hes since expanded James Harden Basketball ProCamp to Arizona, where he shined at ASU from 2007-2009. 

    BG Clubs Houston on Twitter

    Exciting weekend for our BGC members who attended James Harden’s Basketball Pro Camp thanks to @bbvacompass & @krogerco @JHarden13

    Harden, originally from Los Angeles, credits the Arizona community for shaping him into the man he is today. Hes also an advocate for attending college despite the recent NCAA scandal that has prominent figures calling the NCAAs treatment of their student athletes corrupt.  

    “I went from a boy to a man. College really matured me,” Harden told “Those two years really helped me a lot. It’s always great to come back and give back. Make sure the community knows that I really respect it.”

    And the NBA respects Hardens total package. From the way he has gotten his turnovers down from a record-breaking 5.7 per game in 2017 to just over 4 this season, to the way he paid his dues before ascending to greatness. 

    Durant and Westbrook have their MVPs. Durant has an NBA championship as well. Its finally the silent assassins turn to sit at the top of the NBA food chain and revel in the adulation and recognition of being the NBAs elite baller. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.