James Harden may need a new pair of shorts.
The Houston Rockets star went down hard to the floor on Saturday night’s 111-110 overtime win over the Boston Celtics, and in doing so appeared to reveal a mysterious stain on the back of his white shorts. The shot came from the end of the first half when Harden drove for a layup attempt as time expired but was blocked and fell hard to the court. He remained on the ground for several seconds before raising his knees to help pull himself back up, revealing a faint stain on the backside of his shorts.
Pictures of the stained shorts spread quickly around Twitter and made their way to the top of Reddit, where there were plenty of theories about how it could have been created — most suggesting that he had an accident.
“Harden just stained his legacy,” one person joked.
Many others compared the image to an infamous incident involving former Celtics player Paul Pierce. In Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, Pierce appeared to injure his leg and remained on the floor for some time. He was eventually taken to the locker room in a wheelchair but made a quick return that left some fans wondering whether Pierce may have had an accident on the court and needed to leave for a fresh pair of shorts.
As Business Insider noted, Pierce would eventually confess that the trip to the locker room wasn’t really an injury at all, but an excuse to address other pressing matters.
“I have a confession to make,” Pierce said during a broadcast of 2019 NBA Finals. “I just had to go to the bathroom.”
— Icculus The Brave (@FirenzeMike) March 1, 2020
The photo appeared to give some ammunition supporters of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo after he and Harden recently exchanged sharp remarks in the press. As ESPN noted, Harden said in a recent interview with Rachel Nichols that the Bucks star was basing his game on his size and power, not basketball skills.
“I wish I could be 7 feet, run and just dunk. That takes no skill at all,” Harden said. “I gotta actually learn how to play basketball and how to have skill. I’ll take that any day,” he added.
The Reddit users seemed to take pleasure in recalling these comments after Harden’s unidentified stain on Saturday night.
“Anybody could be 6’5 and sh*t themselves in a game, it doesnt take skill,” one person wrote.