Forget Paris 2 – A Harden Day’s Night

Probably better without Billy Crystal.

Probably better without Billy Crystal.
Illustration: Getty (Shutterstock)

The new Space Jam movie is coming soon, but James Harden has beaten LeBron James to the box office with a mid-1990s NBA film tribute of his own.

What, you don’t remember the Billy Crystal-Debra Winger romantic comedy Forget Paris? Featuring cameos from original Space Jam stars Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing, as well as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Reggie Miller, Isiah Thomas, and others?

In the French capital for Fashion Week, Harden was stopped by police, but not arrested. The former MVP’s fellow traveler, Lil Baby, has much more to want to forget about this trip, as the rapper was taken into custody. Lil Baby was released on Friday, and issued a fine for having cannabis in his car.

Marijuana has not been decriminalized in France, and penalties can be harsher, but typically possession is penalized with a fine of up to 200 euros.

Harden’s withdrawal from the Olympics, after dealing with a hamstring injury during the NBA playoffs, means that there’s no Sha’carri Richardson situation here. The NBA hasn’t been doing marijuana testing since the pandemic started, so this is really nothing more than a bit of embarrassment, and also quite likely an incident that never should have happened.

Racial profiling by the police, after all, is not a uniquely American concept. Last month, three men, who were high school students when French cops hassled them in 2017, won a case against French authorities, who were found “at fault for discriminatory practices.”

How would the situation have played out if the Parisian cops had smelled weed coming from a car with some white guys in it? Would one of them been taken into custody for a night, and another searched, all over an ounce of pot? It was just last year that France moved to a nationwide policy of on-the-spot fines for drug use, with the ability to get the fine lowered by paying quickly. Maybe the cops who frisked Harden didn’t get that memo?

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