It was only a matter of time before James Harden would respond to Giannis Antetokounmpo suggesting he doesn't pass the ball or play defense earlier this month.
The jabs started during the All-Star selection process with Team Giannis and Team LeBron, when last year's MVP decided to take Kemba Walker over Harden.
Antetokounmpo quipped, "I want somebody that's gonna pass the ball," despite the fact that Harden averages more assists than Walker.
Harden ranked 10th in assists going into the All-Star break, while Walker ranked 36th.
Then after the game, Giannis said his team's goal was to attack whoever Harden was guarding, building on the narrative of Harden being a poor defender.
"I don't see what the joke is," Harden told ESPN's Rachel Nichols. "I don't pay attention to stuff like that. I just know that none of them can mess with me."
Harden also said his game will be appreciated more when he's done playing.
But he wishes he could just be "seven feet and just run and just dunk."
Harden suggested Antetokounmpo's game requires far less skill than his own and it's definitely going to stir up this rivalry between perennial MVP contenders.
It's hard to pinpoint where this rift started, but the easiest guess is when the Rockets "respectfully" disagreed with Antetokounmpo winning the MVP over Harden last year and dropped a checklist or reasons for their dissent.
Given how emotional Giannis was in accepting that award and what it clearly meant to him, it's easy to see how he could've felt disrespected.
Nevertheless, it's an NBA beef to embrace.
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