Believe it or not, there WAS a time when “James Harden with beard” was “James Harden without beard.”
One look at James Harden without beard reveals why he grew the beard.
What in the world did we ever do prior to the existence of GIFs? Harden’s beard looks so life-like, you’d swear it was a living entity.
Check out this James Harden Beard GIF that details the growth of the most famous facial hair in the NBA and potentially in the world of sports.
And yes, I’m including former Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Brian Wilson in that statement, even though you probably forgot about him.
Actually the weirdest beard in all of sports probably belongs to Ohio State football coach Ryan Day. It looks like a glued a muskrat to his chin and dyed it in motor oil.
Harden’s beard has gotten progressively weirder, (detailed nicely by Yahoo here) to the point where it is now, akin to an overgrown jungle canopy.
Meanwhile, Harden’s beard is 100% natural a devoid of beard PED’s, something his MLB counterparts would have a hard time claiming.
At the same time his beard has taken shape, Harden’s faux-hawk has also progressed nicely, giving him a head shape that most of us would be proud to call our own.
There is a “Samson” joke in here somewhere, because the longer Harden has grown the beard, the more success he has enjoyed in his NBA career.
EXCEPT, in the playoffs when James Harden annually converts to his alter ego, James Soften:
Harden set a new standard of style with his beard. And he’s followed that up in ensuing years with fashion-forward/weird clothes and outfits that only Cam Newton can really appreciate.
What’s interesting though is the domain of the beard really belongs to Harden. Name another NBA player with a well-known beard? Or even facial hair.
Probably have to lump the Lakers’ Anthony Davis into this mix and his unibrow that he literally trademarked.
The Birdman Chris Anderson had a beard for a while. As did Dirk Nowitzki. But that’s really it.
But do you know what ISN’T over? James Harden’s career.
Since he forced his way out of Philadelphia via a trade to the Clippers, the former little brother of NBA basketball teams, the Clippers are currently a game out of the #1 seed in the Western Conference.
Harden discussed his fit with the Clippers back in November, which was a hot-button topic following the trade, infamously stating, “I’m not a system player, I am a system.”
Harden is playing 34 mpg which is the lowest since his OKC Thunder days.
But, he is contributing across the board with 17/8/5/1 and shooting a career-high 40% from three.
And most importantly, and surprisingly, teaming up (rather than ‘teeming’) with Russell Westbrook has exceeded anyone’s expectations other than their own.