James Harden watches New Zealand do the Haka

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Today in Spain at the FIBA Basketball World Cup, Team USA faced off against New Zealand. Like they do before many international sports matches, the New Zealand players first performed a traditional dance called the Haka. According to Wikipedia, the Haka is “a traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge from the Māori people of New Zealand. It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment.”

Here’s an animated GIF of the New Zealand team performing the Haka, with James Harden looking on…

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(via Ben Golliver)

51 Comments

  1. lbj says:

    James Harden watching the Haka with unbelievable and shocking face won’t give him a ring just oa FIBA ring. He needs to play with our “king” LeBron in Cleveland. We will trade all New Zealander player to Rockets for James Harden. We will now have Fantastic Four in Cleveland. Kyrie Erving, Kevin Love, James Harden and our “king” LeBron

  2. sam30 says:

    As a New Zealander, I always find it really funny watching people who are seeing the haka for the first time.

  3. trollinvasion says:

    the rugby guys are the real deal, you feel the power you will take in the chest.
    nice try basketball guys, but not savage enough

  4. Soroosh says:

    I’m a fan of the US team, But I believe Haka was interesting and I respect that, :)

  5. galo says:

    Forgive my ignorance, but how did Ibaka get into the Spanish team? Naturalization I suppose. We probably should have naturalized Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, and one of the Gasol bros and convinced them to play for the US.

    • Dave says:

      Haha yeah good luck with that. All those guys you mentioned are proud of the countries they play for, none would abandon them for the US…

    • Jordan says:

      Ibaka made Spanish team as he is a Spanish Citizen when he played there in the past.

    • Luis Cabo says:

      One of 18 siblings, Serge moved to Spain as a teenager, with refugee status, after his father was imprisoned and her mother and several of his siblings killed during the Congo civil war. He learned his basketball skills and became a professional baller there, playing in the youth division of team Manresa. He speaks perfect Castillian Spanish, without any hint of a foreign accent, and both before and after getting naturalized he has always been very vocal about how grateful he is to Spain. In his own words he owes everything to Spain, never had a real life or a future until he moved there and that’s where he grew to become a man and wants to retire after he has finished his career in the NBA. Serge has shown more compromise and love for his country than many natural-born Spaniards. He is an extremely honest and grateful young man who has had a really hard life, and you should not judge him or his country allegiance without having made any effort to informed yourself about it.

    • antzlim says:

      FIBA only allows ONE naturalization player to play in the national team.

    • Kevin says:

      Is in spain since he as 17 years and he chose is country

    • Scisca says:

      Can’t see a single native American on your team, so I guess he’s as entitled to play on the Spanish team as every single US player to play in the US team.

    • udekur says:

      You did, just not in basketball, but in (rest of the world) football.

    • Leiva says:

      Ibaka was born in Congo, a Belgian colony till 1960 (so it keeps closed connections with Europe), and he moved to Spain and played there since he was a junior at 16 yo.

    • Urix says:

      Ibaka played and lived in Spain since he was 13 years old, before entering the NBA.

    • Yann says:

      Ibaka is from the Congo Republic and was naturalized Sapnish in 2011.

    • Iago says:

      I believe there are certain rules regarding ¿naturalized? players (forgive me if that word doesn’t exist but English is not my first languaje). I mean, Ibacka is eligible to play for Spain national team because he’s been spanish for a number of years (don’t know really how many years are needed), he came to Spain and got the citizenship as he was still a junior player. Also, and more important, I believe you can have only one naturalized player per team. Oh, and no player that has ever played for a country’s national team is eligible to play for any other.

    • It's a global world says:

      He lived/lives there before coming to play in the NBA. Also one doesn’t need to be born in a country to have nationality. As long as you’ve lived there for X amount of time and fit the rrest of criteria anyone can apply for citizenship.

    • Sebastian Valmont says:

      You think team USA’s never done it before? Hakeem Olajuwon is Nigerian and they made him play in the dream team.

  6. cesar says:

    Ibaka was living and playing in Spain before go to nba. Do you know where Duncan or Irving were born ?

  7. Ben says:

    Most Americans won’t be aware of this, but standing there and watching the haka – accepting the challenge face on – is the appropriate cultural response to a haka. The US team was the first team to enquire about this, and so they did it, they first team at the World Cup to do so. I have huge respect for the fact that they took it seriously from the outset. Well done US.

  8. doCJ says:

    As a NZer thanks to the usa bball team for standing in front of the haka well done, harden’s face is funny like what these fulla’s doing lol. ka mau te wehi, also the rugby guys have been doing it for years that’s why they have a better flow but its all about giving it your best. Mauri tu mauri ora

  9. ryx says:

    I’d really love to see this lbj dude comment this ring thing of his in a spurs article haha

  10. musteno says:

    If I am correct any nation can have one foreign player.

  11. Ivica says:

    it is when you have no knowledge about other countries and their culture…

  12. gingeroots says:

    Do you really think Tony Parker would have played for Team USA?

  13. skywalkerrr1 says:

    Maybe he is scared

  14. skywalkerrr1 says:

    Good to see a bit of Polynesian culture getting some exposure, and pacific islands in general.

  15. MJ Era kid says:

    Lebron is not my King , Jesus Christ is the only King.

  16. Yann says:

    By the way the face of Kenteh Faried is also very funny.
    I have to admit though that the Tall Blacks aren’t as impressive that their All Blacks fellow.
    I still enjoy the Haka tradition, it give me chill bumps every time.

  17. Chad says:

    NZ really should only do the Haka for sports they are actually good at. i.e Ruby. Goes with it to because of it’s physicality.

    Kinda dumb looking all tough before the game when you proceed to get thrashed shortly after.

  18. Elliott Singleton says:

    you can’t do a dance if you get blown out

  19. Luc Cisna says:

    Did Lang Whitaker just reference Wikipedia on an NBA.com post (about a cultural tradition)? Wow, I’m pretty sure you can do better than that.

  20. JDizz says:

    isn’t that the same confused look that Harden has on his face when he loses his man on D? lol

  21. realtalk82 says:

    Dance is awesome but it did nothing to win the game, US just destroyed them.

  22. exiledD says:

    when USA play against Spain. Davis will be shut by Gasols, Ibaka will dominate Faried . only Harden can be a true force to count on.

  23. scoop says:

    mad love for the gasol brothers but they do not want it with anthony davis! a davis was the true defensive player of the year in 2014, noah knows that! A Davis is the future of the nba he will be around for a long time shattering records! I almost wanna call him a kg/hakeem hybrid! spain has no chance to win this game!

  24. vincent says:

    i saw this on jimmy kimmel, and it being a comedy show, i thought initially the usa team’s presence was like edited in or vice versa with the new zealand team lol

  25. Robxxx says:

    This is a real Haka!
    Enjoy

    • Luis Cabo says:

      The Haka is one of the coolest traditions in sports (and beyond). Apart from that inherent coolness and beauty, I think that pretty much any of us commenting here would be closer to soil our pants rather than to laughing if either these guys or the Tall Blacks were to perform it for us. Including those who wrote comments in the line of it being silly.

  26. football says:

    He’s not desperately trying to look like a big shot. The different types of defensive football positions are:.

    Ole Miss and Mississippi State moving the Egg Bowl away from Jackson, Miss.