Rockets' James Harden says mask was not a political statement

Harden, an eight-time All-Star, was pictured on Thursday wearing a mask with a 'Thin Blue Line', a symbol that represents police advocacy group Blue Lives Matter.

Houston Rockets star James Harden   -  Getty Images

Houston Rockets guard James Harden said on Friday he had not planned on making a political statement by wearing a pro-police face mask and was unaware of what the mask represented.

Harden, an eight-time All-Star, was pictured on Thursday wearing a mask with a 'Thin Blue Line', a symbol that represents police advocacy group Blue Lives Matter and is often viewed as opposing the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Honestly, I wasn't trying to make a political statement,” Harden said ahead of the Rockets' practise session on Friday. “I honestly wore it just because it covered my whole face and my beard. It's pretty simple. I thought it looked cool.”

READ| NBA says races for MVP, Rookie of Year trophies are over

The Black Lives Matter movement has gained momentum following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed in police custody in Minneapolis.

The NBA is allowing players to sport social justice messages on the back of their jerseys instead of their last name when the season resumes and Harden said he was considering what kind of message he wanted to convey.

“I'm in the process of doing that right now,” Harden said.

The NBA, which has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to resume on July 30 at the Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

Read the Free eBook

  Dugout videos