At a recent media event held in Houston, James Harden took questions from a group of reporters during an appearance at the Adidas store at The Galleria mall. Harden had been ruled out of the Rockets’ next two games at practice earlier that day, but was in good spirits when it came to discussing his latest signature shoe, the Adidas Harden Vol. 3. He took particular pride when asked about his level of involvement in the design.

“From materials, to the way it looks, to the colorways—everything,” Harden revealed regarding the process. “Business emails, conference calls, the Adidas team flying out to Houston or wherever I am, to when I’m in Portland going over it—it’s a lot. It’s a dope process to create and design your own shoe.”

Based on Harden’s unique style of play and innovative offensive game, it makes sense that he’d want to take a hands-on approach to the design. He might not have the experience in making shoes that the Adidas team has, but does have direct knowledge of what he needs in a shoe when it comes to things like creating space. “Your footwork, and how fast you can stop and go, how fast you change directions—it’s extremely important for my game,” Harden said. “That’s one of the main keys I have to have in my shoe.”

With that in mind, if the Harden Vol. 3 doesn’t perform, it falls squarely on him. For better or worse, it’s the shoe that he wanted. Can James Harden add sneaker designer to his MVP resume?

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