Eight times All-Star and six times All-NBA First Team Stars winner, Houston Rocket shooter James Harden has established himself as one of the biggest bombers in the history of the NBA. His movements are of course pretentious, but it is his beard that made him instantly recognisable. Actually, that’s why they call him Bart. However, there was a time when the first overall pick number 3 played without facial hair.
Harden went to Artesia High School in Lakewood, California. He led the school basketball program to junior and senior state championships and was then invited to play in the 2007 McDonald’s All-American game. Several future NBA players participated in the game, including J.J. Hickson, Kevin Love and Michael Beesley.
If you look closely, you’ll see Harden’s beardless T-shirt with the number 13:
Name each player. #tbt pic.twitter.com/PVvvQbWD86W
– SLAM (@SLAMonline) 23. March 2017
After high school, Harden became a star in the state of Arizona. In his first year, he averaged 17.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game, while the Sun Devils set a total record of 21:13 (he was 5th in the Pac-10, but dropped back into TIN).
In preparation for his second and final season in Arizona, Harden was on the cover of the preseason issue of Sports Illustrated magazine’s varsity basketball section. He ended his second campaign with an average score of 20.1, 5.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists. For his outstanding performance this season, he was named player of the year at the Pac-10 conference and is unanimously recognized as an All-American. But unfortunately, James and Sun Devils were defeated by Syracuse in the second round of the 2009 NCAA tournament.
@adidas released @JHarden13 x @SunDevilHoops dump jersey that Harden wore on the cover of Sports Illustrated in ’08. https://t.co/CtxCSvvcL4 pic.twitter.com/O1GtuBaNjV.
– Joey Artigue (@Joey_Artigue) 4. February 2020.
In recognition of the importance for the team and its history, Arizona has decided to retire the Harden number 13 jersey in 2015:
Fear of beards! In the state of Arizona, James Harden retires as number 13. Harden played two seasons for the Sun Devils from 2007 to 2009. pic.twitter.com/SYmjXnVhqY
– 18. Sports Centre (@SportCenter) February 2015.
After his second season at ASU, Harden announced his entry into the 2009 NBA draft and finished third overall at Oklahoma City Rattle. At about the same time he began to grow a beard, although it was not yet at full strength.
Without you, the competition wouldn’t be what it is today. You will be missed by the entire NBA family and fans all over the world. #2009Draft Day
RIP David Stern pic.twitter.com/tnSYMsTnjp
– James Harden (@JHarden13) 1. January 2020.
James Harden on his design day pic.twitter.com/JgroP8Ge
– Basketball Day 22. September 2012
The other child killers in this class were sniper Stephen Curry and the great Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons:
The NBA 2009 project was completed 10 years ago today.
1) Blake Griffin
2) Hashim Tabet
3) James Harden
4) Tyree Evans
5) Johnny Flynn
6) Ricky Rubio
7) Steph Curry
8) Jordan Hill
9) DeMar DeRozan
10) Brandon Jennings pic.twitter.com/OPQcxB5e5U
– 24. Sports out of time (@timelesssports_) June 2019.
The beard of the Hardens only really began to form in 2011. When he played with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook at that time, James’ hair started to become a business card. Oklahoma City seemed to be the dominant team for years, but it wasn’t. For various reasons, several important members of the register have gone in different directions.
2011-12 The young Oklahoma City Thunder core looked like he was about to conquer the world.
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka.
✅3 Final Conference pic.twitter.com/FCZ5tAVypV
– 1. Total Roomscout (@RoomscoutTotaal) May 2020.
In 2018, Harden said he was open to the idea of cutting off his beard – for a considerable amount of money:
Oh yeah, I would, said James Harden about Bob Garcia at sportcasting.com and The Ringer. I mean, because it’ll grow back. Yeah, at least $10 million. There I am. How nice.
The development of the beard by James Harden. #FearTheBeard pic.twitter.com/DiGYgx65Ev
– Rocketland (@RocketsNationCP) 23. April 2015.
As you can see on the pictures in this article, Harden’s beard has grown considerably over the years. In addition to the three-point shot and the ability to handle the ball at the ankles, it has become his trademark. And, frankly, it helped him to get a lot of marketing and business opportunities. It remains to be seen where he’ll grow up from here.
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