The Philadelphia 76ers remain in offseason mode, but at this point, the team is beginning to buckle down and prepare for the next phase of the offseason as training camp is just weeks away.
Last week, it became clear that many Sixers, including James Harden, are back in the Philadelphia area prepping for the upcoming season. Since Harden’s back in town after traveling all over during the last few months, the star guard paid a visit to his neighbors on Monday night.
Right across from the Sixers’ home court, the Philadelphia Eagles faced the Minnesota Vikings for their first home game of the year on prime time. Harden was in attendance and sitting close to the action all night long.
“The Beard” received a warm reception from Eagles fans on Monday night. Early on during the first half, Harden was shown on the big screen at Lincoln Financial Field and was met with cheers.
Harden receiving love from Philly fans shouldn’t come as a shock. Although many regarded Harden’s short stint with the Sixers last season as underwhelming when the playoffs concluded, the star guard pointed to several factors that held him back.
The ten-time All-Star made it clear he would be back in Philly and hinted that after going through a healthy offseason and gaining more time to build chemistry with his Sixers teammates, Philadelphia would be gunning for an NBA title next season.
So far, Harden has stuck to his word. Not only did he re-sign with the Sixers in free agency, but he took a notable pay cut to free up space so the front office could gain flexibility in the open market. As a result, the Sixers look much better on paper going into the 2022-2023 season.
Despite being in Philly for less than a year after getting traded to the 76ers from the Brooklyn Nets, Harden has embraced the City of Brotherly Love and is looking to support the city’s other franchises.
After the game, Harden linked up with Eagles cornerback Darius Slay, who dominated with two interceptions on the night. Following one of his picks, Slay ran over to Harden and gifted the future Hall of Famer a game ball.
When the two stars met off the field, Slay signed the ball he gifted to Harden and received encouragement from the ten-time All-Star hooper.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.