Today in 2018: James Harden buries Wesley Johnson with epic crossover
Entering play on Feb. 28, 2023, the Houston Rockets (13-47) own the NBA’s worst record for a third consecutive season. But fans don’t have to think back very far to recall better times for the franchise.
One of those moments came exactly five years ago on Feb. 28, 2018. As perhaps the defining image from James Harden’s MVP season, “The Beard” dropped Los Angeles Clippers guard Wesley Johnson to the floor with an epic crossover before licking his lips and burying a 3-pointer in front of astonished fans at Staples Center.
Harden, a perennial All-Star with the Rockets, went on to win MVP that yearseason, and the Rockets finished the regular season at 65-17 — easily the best record of any team in franchise history.
Five years later, perhaps it’s only fitting if Harden — a potential free agent this offseason, when the Rockets have significant salary cap space — is the one to lead the Rockets back to relevance.
For now, here’s a look back at one Harden’s most memorable moments over eight-plus seasons with the Rockets.
Wesley Johnson, meet James Harden
On this day in 2018, James Harden dropped Wesley Johnson with this crossover 🥶
Still cold. pic.twitter.com/Mv7wcDJ5jO
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 28, 2023
James Harden talks about his crossover against Wesley Johnson a few seasons ago. He mentions he hasn’t spoken to Johnson since.
Harden when asked about him dropping players via crossover: “I be trying to drop somebody every game. That’s called killer mentality.” #Rockets pic.twitter.com/sjLknIEgm0
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) August 21, 2019
Best ankle-breaking stepbacks!
5) Nate Rob on Reggie Jackson 2012
4) Isaiah Rider on Willie Anderson in 1994
3) Kemba on Mirotic in 2014
2) Wade on O.J. Mayo in 2008
1) Harden on Wesley Johnson in 2018#NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump
— 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐢𝐧' 𝐍𝐁𝐀 (@_Talkin_NBA) October 29, 2019
Wesley Johnson looking like he's ready to go home lol 😂 pic.twitter.com/rGLlt68nfI
— Forever Trill🇳🇬 🇰🇪 🇧🇸 (@mccauley318) March 1, 2018
That man got a family @JHarden13 https://t.co/0FlesWaS21
— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) March 1, 2018
I’m sorry Wes Johnson (ooooh)
I am The Beeeaaard
Never meant to make your ankles die
I apologize a trillion times
— sreekar (@sreekyshooter) March 1, 2018
James Harden stared him like pic.twitter.com/vCmP1ma0rb
— That Blame Guy (@ImToBlame) March 1, 2018
Wesley Johnson has to go into a witness protection program. And James Harden must be brought up on charges for snatching this man’s soul. pic.twitter.com/7pM82he8kC
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) March 1, 2018
@World_Wide_Wob @espn People way too quick 😂 Wikipedia page already updated. #JamesHarden #WesleyJohnson pic.twitter.com/4w29noRHAk
— Luke Fillmore (@luke_fillmore32) March 1, 2018
NBA Twitter reaction to James Harden breaking Wesley Johnson ankles pic.twitter.com/60TdOMERp4
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) March 1, 2018