James Harden, the unstoppable NBA scoring force, signed a $200 million contract with Adidas this summer, making him the face (and beard) of the brand known globally for its three stripes. Now Harden finds himself part of an uncomfortable three-striped romance — and has to compete against the only basketball player in the world who shas found a way to deny Harden what he wants. That basketball player is Lamar Odom and his tactic is near-deadly desperation and self-immolation.
The deeply troubled Odom, who recently overdosed in a brothel and has just come out of a coma, was once married to fashion model and full-time celebrity Khloe Kardashian. During Odom’s downward spiral, Kardashian has been dating Harden. Now she is reportedly at the recovering Odom’s bedside, attending the current tragedy. That leaves Harden on ice, as Kardashian has apparently prioritized Odom. Harden’s doing fine, Kardashian must figure, and Odom is in horrible pain and trouble. It’s an honorable move — Odom clearly felt bereft and isolated as he descended into near-fatal addiction. Odom hasn’t played an NBA game since 2013, whereas Harden is riding high as can be. Odom may eventually find that even this tactic won’t work against the irrepressible Harden. But for now Harden is surely focused on his upcoming Rockets season — and he’s a good enough guy to wish Odom well, even if it inconveniences his high-flying life for a little while.