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Lil B lifts James Harden’s curse, so now what?

Houston Rockets guard joins Kevin Durant in having curse removed by rapper

It has been years. Years of fighting through the curse. Years of enduring the pain of agonizing defeat. Years of playoff embarrassment for Houston Rockets star James Harden.

But then came the day when everything changed: June 4.

“No player has been blessed yet,” rapper Lil B said moments before the unexpected happened:

@lilbisgod has officially lifted the James Harden curse. 🙏

A post shared by First Take (@espnfirsttake) on

And just like that, ladies and gentlemen, it became official. The curse was over. It was decreed and declared on First Take by Lil B himself that the Harden curse had been lifted.

Harden was put in this predicament in 2015 for not paying homage to Lil B for his on-court celebration.

“He just needs to acknowledge where he got his sports celebration from. He calls it the James Harden stir, but what it really is, is the Lil B cooking dance celebration,” Lil B said.

However, after much consideration, The Based God decided to bless Harden, who is a 2017 NBA MVP candidate.

Despite the disrespect Lil B has felt, having to curse players is not something he hopes for.

“I don’t wish the curse on anybody, and I think it’s something that throughout time we see [player’s] actions. That’s how curses happen, [through] people’s actions … but I don’t wish a curse upon anyone.”

Harden joins Kevin Durant in being released from the curse. Durant was cursed in 2011 for disregarding Lil B and his artistry.

Since then, the Bay Area native has been pleased with Durant and his offseason move to Golden State, which led Lil B to break the curse on the Warriors star.

“Once he came to the Golden State Warriors, it was a wrap. It was done from there,” Lil B said with a smile on his face.

Now that Durant is no longer cursed, Lil B is confident the Warriors will take home the title. They lead the Cleveland Cavaliers, 2-0, in the NBA Finals.

“He is going to win. No question. … You know things will take time. And these [games] will not be easy, of course. But I think we’ll sweep.”

So far, so good for the Warriors. With Durant flourishing in the playoffs since the curse has been broken, what could this mean for Harden?

Here are a few possibilities:

Harden becomes a winner

Although some may not take the curse seriously, it is somewhat ironic that Harden’s seasons have resembled that of a Monstar from Space Jam since 2015.

During the regular season, he’s phenomenal. He nearly averaged a triple-double in 2016, with 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game. In 2015, he averaged 29 points, 6.1 rebounds and 7.5 assists.

Once mid-April rolls around, though, it’s as if he’s allergic to the postseason. It’s as if we are witnessing his ball skills exit his body right before our eyes, one turnover at a time. It’s hard not to wonder whether Harden feels like Charles Barkley in the scene from Space Jam when he got clowned playing pickup.

“You’re not James Harden, you’re just a wannabe who looks like him.”

But now that the curse is lifted, this could be good news for the guard. Maybe, just maybe, Harden’s playoff performances from here on out will match his regular-season dominance.

Harden becomes MVP

There’s no question Harden has had MVP-caliber seasons the past few years. This 2016-17 season, he was a key component in one of the best offenses in NBA history, and now he is contending for the league’s MVP this season, along with Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.

With the curse lifted, he could finally snag the trophy and become the first MVP since 1997 who’s been on a team ranked lower than fourth in wins.

Harden gets cursed again

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice and find yourself cursed for life. Lil B has lifted and put the curse back on Harden before, so don’t think it can’t happen again.

If the Rockets star continues to ignore the origin of the “cooking dance” and fails to pay homage, The Based God may decide it’s time to put a life sentence on Harden. And who knows if Harden will ever find success in the postseason.

Nothing changes

Hypothetically speaking, Harden does everything right: respects Lil B and the “cooking dance” and makes permanent peace with The Based God. There is a possibility that he still plays like trash come clutch time. What we are seeing from postseason Harden may just be how his basketball skills are currently set up. And this whole time he wasn’t suffering through the curse, but trying to play through his shortcomings of becoming a clutch player.

Only time will tell. For now, we wait and see what comes next.

Kayla Johnson is an associate editor for the ESPN social brand. She is an avid Kobe fan and may consider retirement if given the chance to interview him one day.