Rockets star James Harden fined $50K for violating NBA’s COVID-19 protocol

FILE - In this March 7, 2020, file photo, Houston Rockets guard James Harden stands on the court during a break in the action against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C. This seasons NBA MVP has won the award before. A trio of past winners of the award  reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, four-time MVP LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and 2017-18 winner James Harden of the Houston Rockets  were announced Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, as the finalists for this seasons top NBA individual honor. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File)
FILE - In this March 7, 2020, file photo, Houston Rockets guard James Harden stands on the court during a break in the action against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C. This seasons NBA MVP has won the award before. A trio of past winners of the award reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, four-time MVP LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and 2017-18 winner James Harden of the Houston Rockets were announced Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, as the finalists for this seasons top NBA individual honor. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – James Harden was fined $50,000 Wednesday night for violating a COVID-19 protocol, according to the National Basketball Association.

On Wednesday morning, ESPN first reported the NBA was investigating social media videos that place Harden at a party Monday night in Houston, where Harden was pictured maskless.

Among other NBA protocols, the health and safety guidelines prohibit players from attending indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people or entering bars, lounges, clubs or similar establishments.

The NBA said because Harden attended a private indoor party on Monday, he was unavailable to play in the season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The game was also postponed because the Rockets did not have enough eligible players.

Harden recently missed the first few days of Rockets training camp, while partying with rapper Lil Baby in both Atlanta and Las Vegas.

Harden has long demanded to be traded by the Rockets.

The Rockets have not responded to KPRC 2′s request for comment.

Harden responds

Harden posted a response on social media before the fine announced. He wrote:

“One thing after another. I went to show love to my homegirl at her event (not a strip club) because she is becoming a boss and putting her people in position of success and now it’s a problem.

“Every day, it’s something different.

“No matter how many time people try to drag my name under you can’t.

“The real always end on top.


About the Authors:

Murrow and Emmy award-winning sports anchor & reporter. Avid traveler, mediocre golfer. Loves good food, good friends and southern rap.

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.