Houston Rockets star James Harden has received a $50,000 fine from the NBA for violating the COVID-19 guidelines. A video surfaced that showed him attending an indoor party without wearing a mask. The team ruled him "unavailable" for Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which ultimately moved later.
According to NBA rules, players are not allowed to go to any bars or clubs. They also cannot gather in groups of more than 15 people. The NBA released a statement on Wednesday and said that Harden had attended a private party on Monday and had violated those rules. The league confirmed that he would be fined $50,000.
PEOPLE reports that three players on the Houston Rockets had coronavirus test results that were "either positive or inconclusive." Four other players were placed in quarantine through contact tracing. Another player headed to the bench due to an injury. With these losses, the Rockets did not have enough healthy players to take on the Thunder and postpone the matchup.
According to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, Harden responded to the situation with a comment on his Instagram Stories. "One thing after another. I went to show love to my homegirl at her event (not a strip club) because she is becoming a boss and putting her people in position of success and now it's a problem," Harden wrote, per a screenshot of the message. "Everyday [sic] it's something different. No matter how many times people try to drag my name under, you can't. The real always end on top."
With the game between the two teams postponed to an unknown date, the Thunder flew back to Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. They then left Friday afternoon to fly to Charlotte for a new season opener against the Hornets. The Rockets, on the other hand, have a game against the Portland Trail Blazers scheduled for Saturday.
Harden previously violated the league's health and safety protocols and missed the start of training camp. He attended a birthday party for Lil Baby and spent time near other people while not wearing a mask. He also turned heads with a wide variety of gifts to the rapper.
Harden posted several photos showing him during the weekend celebration with Lil Baby. One image featured the rapper opening a Prada bag filled with several gifts. Harden gave him $100,000 in cash, an expensive Richard Mille watch and several honey buns. "Celebrated our Birthdays yesterday, but at this point, this really every day for us. And people think we be showin off," Harden wrote in the caption.