On Thursday night, James Harden ended another season with a look in his eyes that can only be described as a combination of hearing a woman laugh heartily after seeing your penis and realizing that you have diarrhea as the roller coaster rounds the first bend on a date with your crush.
It’s easy to blame the Houston Rockets’ repeated failures on Harden, because ... well ... it is kinda his fault. In big games, he repeatedly comes out as flat and shaky as John Legend’s singing voice. But why, though? He is so good during the regular season and in the games that don’t count that much. He scored 10 points last night. Ten! Statistics show his beard can score 8 points by itself!
Some experts attribute it to performance anxiety or injury, while others attribute it to one inexorable fact that everyone but Harden has already accepted:
James Harden is cursed.
But the $64 million question is, who put the voodoo on Harden? We all know there are only two major candidates, so to break it down, The Root conducted a scientific analysis of all the data to see if we can figure out who cursed Harden.
Suspect No. 1: Khloé Kardashian
Deemed “the homely Kardashian,” Khloé has one major achievement in life: She was born with the last name Kardashian (although many people speculate that she is the love child of A.C. Cowlings, O.J. Simpson or the non-Henderson star of Harry and the Hendersons—and she does look as if she could rush for over 1,000 yards in the NFL if they could find a helmet that fits her Easter Island-shaped head).
History: Khloé’s family history is rich with the discarded carcasses of black stars who dated the Kardashian women before spiraling into nothingness. Before dating Kim, Reggie Bush won the Heisman Trophy and was a top NFL prospect, but after she got her paws on him, he became the first player in the NFL to retire with negative yards. She turned Brandy’s brother into a porn-star, reality-show flame-out who ended up as Floyd Mayweather’s mascot. We won’t even mention the secret teacup Kim K. carries around to make sure Kanye stays in “the sunken place.”
Plus, we all know what happened to Lamar Odom when he dated Khloé.
Motive: Harden dumped Khloé and that’s all she needed, although some people say the Kardashians need to constantly refill their secret, underground well with the blood and sweat of virile, young black men to keep their cultural-appropriation game on point. She probably still uses Harden’s beard oil to grease her scalp.
How else would she keep her cornrows so tight?
Suspect No. 2: Brandon McCartney, aka Lil B
A lot of people laugh at Lil B, the Based God, when he announces his curses, but not me. (Seriously, Mr. B, not me, sir. Can I just call you “Lil”?) I’d rather wear a thong to the Vatican on Easter, holding my grandmother’s hand, than say anything to denigrate the great anointed one and have him curse me.
History: This all started in 2011, when Lil B’s freestyle, stream of consciousness “Based” raps (No, not all raps have to rhyme! How dare you foist those arbitrary societal standards on the Based God!) started blowing up on black Twitter’s predecessor, African-American Twitter. Kevin Durant decided to check him out and was not impressed, so he tweeted:
And so it began.
Lil B cursed Durant and swore that KD would never win a title unless he apologized and played the Based God in a game of 21.
Then Lil B released one of the catchiest songs of all time with one of the most beautiful melodies ever written. All hail the opus that is “Fuck KD”:
After he was cursed, Durant broke his foot twice and recovered, only to lose to the Golden State Warriors last year after leading the series. In the spirit of forgiveness, Lil B removed the curse:
Motive: Which brings us to James Harden.
In 2011, Lil B teamed up with Soulja Boy to make the seminal hit “Cooking Dance,” which contained these lyrics:
Dis my cooking dance
I’m in the kitchen and I’m whipping up some fkjasfadfsa
I couldn’t think of nothing to rhyme with that
but suck my dick, bitch, cuz I’m worth a hunnid racks
A few years later, during a game, Harden had the unmitigated gall to do the cooking dance without Lil B’s permission!
If Lil B let stuff like that go, he’d probably get demoted to a Based demigod, so maybe he had to curse Harden.
On Thursday, Lil B tweeted:
This is all James Harden’s fault for messing around with witches and Based Gods. Until he learns to stay in his own bearded lane, he may never win a championship. Making a Kardashian your girlfriend is like asking Bill Cosby to watch your drink while you run to the bathroom—nothing would probably happen, but why take the chance? Similarly, I’d go talk to the Based God and clear my name from his scrolls if I were Harden.
But here is the solution to Harden’s problems and all of ours:
Harden should go to Lil B, crying, on his knees and beg the Based God for forgiveness. Then he should tell B that the Kardashians held him against his will and made him do the chef dance or they would cut off his big toe. This way, Khloé curses Lil B and Lil B curses Khloé—either canceling out each other’s cursing powers or turning the confrontation into an intergalactic, Harry Potter-like, supernatural wizard fight with sparks and magic spells. This might sound elaborate, but there’s only one other choice:
James Harden just has to play better ...
... in big games.
Yeah, right. Like that’s gonna happen.