Former Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale recently caused controversy by claiming that James Harden is "not a leader".
The Rockets star immediately hit back by calling McHale a "clown" and dismissed the notion that he can't lead a team.
'The Beard' may not be the most vocal player on the floor but he certainly leads by example with his production.
Harden enjoyed the best year of his career last season as he averaged 28.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and a league-leading 11.2 assists per game.
He finished second in the MVP voting behind Russell Westbrook and blossomed in a new point guard role under head coach Mike D'Antoni.
McHale believes that the arrival of Chris Paul will help Harden develop a leadership style but the All-Star guard thinks his performances on the court do the talking.
"There's different types of leaders," Harden said, per the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen. "I've always been a leader with my work ethic, just becoming more comfortable communicating and being a vocal leader, and knowing the guys you're leading, knowing what's around you.
"Then, it's just going out of my way a lot more than I always had. It's one thing to show the person, but it's also going out there making sure the person feels they're loved, that they feel welcome at all times."
The 28-year-old admits that he's still improving in this aspect but is confident that he has the skills to develop into this role.
"I still have a long way to go," he said.
The All-NBA guard has often brought his teammates together for summer workouts and has assumed responsibility as the face of the franchise in recent years.
He has matured considerably during his time in Houston and has stated his desire to remain with the team for the remainder of his career.
The former Oklahoma City Thunder man committed his future to the Rockets by signing a huge four-year, $117 million contract in July.
Alongside Paul, he's determined to deliver a championship to the organisation and doesn't agree with doubts about his ability to co-exist with the veteran ball-handler.
"Personalities are not the same with anyone, but it fits," he said. "I can adjust to anybody. Anybody that is a leader can figure it out and work together. That's just how life works.
"Anybody that works hard and has a great work ethic and loves and is passionate about something will be able to mesh and work together no matter what. We bring those qualities out of each other, me and CP. It's bound to work."
Houston will face an early test of their title credentials on Tuesday night as they open their campaign against the defending chamion Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.