James Harden is feeling lighter this season — to the point where he says he's lost "100 lbs."
The Philadelphia 76er made the claim on Monday during the NBA's media day, drawing skepticism about the accuracy of his assertion — even from teammate Joel Embiid, who was seen smirking when the two took questions from reporters.
Harden, 33, said his new physique is thanks to a focus on his diet in the off-season, as well as getting proper rest and strengthening his muscles. Then, a reporter asked how much weight he lost.
"100 lbs.," he said, to laughs from the crowd. "Tweet that."
Embiid, seated next to Harden, rolled his eyes slightly and offered a sly smirk to reporters.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 26, 2022
Harden is currently listed at 6 ft. 5 in. and 220 lbs., according to the team's roster, but his conditioning has been a looming question mark since the one-time league MVP left the Houston Rockets during the 2020-21 season.
Harden had then joined the Brooklyn Nets, and midway through last season went to the 76ers in a blockbuster trade for Ben Simmons. Seth Curry and Andre Drummond also went to Brooklyn — plus two first round draft picks — while Philadelphia also received Paul Millsap.
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Harden had only been with Brooklyn for 13 months, after landing there after an acrimonious departure from the Houston Rockets.
Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty James Harden
Last season, the guard dealt with left hamstring tightness which sidelined him for most of February, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which he alluded to during Monday's press conference.
"Just the last year and a half, I wasn't healthy enough to put the proper work in, like I'm used to," he said. "This summer was huge for me in that aspect."
Head coach Doc Rivers seconded Harden's assessment –– if not his exact weight loss –– and also praised Embiid for his off-season efforts.
"They had a great summer," Rivers said of Harden and Embiid, per the Inquirer. "Both of them. … James put in a lot of work this summer. So, yeah, we are happy where everybody is right now."