James Harden Bio: The Life and Career of ‘The Beard’

James Harden is a Californian basketball player who has acted as a shooting guard and point guard. He is known for his exceptional stats while playing for 8 long years with the Houston Rockets. Harden is also known for his long beard, which eventually made him earn “The Beard” nickname. He is now playing for the Brooklyn Nets. Harden has worn shirt #13 since he played for Artesia. He has shared dressing rooms with other notorious players like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Lebron James, and Kobe Bryant.

Harden has won one World Cup, one Olympic Gold Medal, has been named the NBA Most Valuable Player, has starred 9 times in the NBA All-Star game, is a 3 times NBA scoring champion, and has several more recognitions and awards under his name.

James Harden Quick Facts

  • Full Name: James Edward Harden Jr.
  • Birth Date: August 26, 1989
  • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
  • Nickname: The Beard
  • Nationality: American
  • Siblings: 2 – 1 sister, 1 brother
  • Children: None
  • Partner: Unconfirmed
  • Profession: Basketball player
  • Salary: 41.25M (2021)
  • Net worth: 165M
  • Social media: @JHarden13 (Instagram and Twitter)
  • Awards: Gold Medal in the 2012 London Olympics, World Cup winner (2014), NBA Assists Leader (2017), NBA Scoring Champion (2018-2020), All-NBA First Team (2014, 2015. 2017-2020), NBA All-Star (2013-2021), NBA MVP (2018).
  • Last Updated: 06/28/2021

James Harden’s Birthplace and Early life

James Harden was born in Los Angeles, California, and his son to Monja Willis and James Harden Sr. Harden grew up in Compton with his mother, his sister Arnique and brother Akili, both older than the NBA star. James Harden’s father has not been very involved in his life or his family’s. Willis has said that they used to call James “lucky” because his birth came after she had several miscarriages.

Even though Harden has been a very skilled athlete for many years now, growing up, he was chubby, asthmatic, and disliked gym work. That quickly changed. His brother Akili mentioned James carried around a basketball as if it was his job. As a young boy who loved basketball, playing for his high school was the next obvious step.

Harden went to Artesia High School, which has a history of educating students that turned out to be MLB, NFL, and NBA great players. In Artesia, Harden met a coach that would be a fundamental part of the beginning of his athletic life: Scott Pera. Harden’s entrance to the Artesia basketball team was a key to accomplish 2 consecutive successful seasons: 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. Pera’s team managed to be state champions in both.

James Harden’s numbers were outstanding, and he was just a junior at the moment of his first state championship. In that 2005-2006 season, James played in 23 games and was guilty of scoring 427 games with an average of 18.6 points per game. Harden kept improving his skills and scored 658 points in 35 games.

James had high-ranked recruiters all over him. Washington and UCLA were two of the universities that wanted Harden on their side. James had such a tight relationship with Pera that he decided to follow his path.

Eventually, this path led to Arizona State in 2008. The Arizona State basketball team did not quite reflect the high-quality game that Harden brings to the arenas nowadays. Even though the University had uneventful participations while Harden played for them, he was able to improve his personal stats and make a name that would resonate among the basketball fans — first-team All-Pac-10, first-team All-District; cover of Sports Illustrated – College Basketball Preview, which is being sold at $138; etc.

As a sophomore, Harden finished with an average of 20.1 points per game. The Californian was also the Pacific-10 Conference’s Player of the Year.

James Harden’s Professional Career

James Harden OKC

Oklahoma City Thunders (2009-2012)

In 2009, Harden was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder. His best seasons with the team were his last 2. The Thunders were not impressing their rivals in previous NBA seasons. They had not won a division title since 2005, and their last conference title was won in 1996. Even though the Californian was scoring at an average of 13.0 and 16.3 points per game in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons, he ignited a flame in the Thunders.

Harden played more than regularly alongside his exceptionally talented teammates — Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka. In the 2010-2011 season, the Thunders won the Northwest Division but failed to win the Conference due to the 5-game defeat against Dallas. The next season, the Thunders finally won the Conference but could not win the NBA title because they had to fight against a very inspired Miami Heat. 5 games was all it took for the Heat to crush Oklahoma’s dream.

The Thunders were willing to keep James on the team. They offered him a 55.5 million dollar extension for the next 4 years, but Harden was going to receive even more from the team that would take him under its wing for the next 8 years: the Houston Rockets.

The Olympics, the Houston Rockets, and the World Cup (2012-2020)

2012 was a key year for Harden. United States’ basketball teams have always been an authority in the history of the Olympics. James Harden was there in 2012 to be part of it, and so were the elite players like Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Westbrook Russell.

The United States won the gold medal after being group leaders, battling Argentina in the Semifinal, and defeating Spain in the final. Even though Harden did not play as regularly as his teammates, being an Olympic gold winner spiced up his basketball curriculum.

James became a formal Rocket player in October 2012, and his first game was explosive. He scored 37 points, which put him in 2nd place in the “most points a player has scored during his first game in his new team” category.

He also contributed with 12 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, and one block. At that time, this type of contribution had only been made by NBA stars like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Dwayne Wade. To end 2012 with a bang, James Harden also won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award.

Harden and the Rockets could not win a conference title during his time there, but his appearance in the team made the Rockets reach a stable position as Division winners (2015, 2018, 2019, 2020). James’ personal stats skyrocketed with Houston. The Californian was scoring above 25 points per game and made an outstanding total of 2023 points in his first season with the team.

In 2014, the Basketball World Cup took place in Spain. Harden and Team USA were there to win it comfortably. Number 13 was actually the player in the team with the most points per game and second in assists per game. What came along for Harden after that was all about improvement. From 2017-2020 he was averaging more than 30 points per game in the regular season. From 2014-2020, Harden was a part of the All-NBA first team.

James’ stats were improving very fast, but his behavior towards the Rockets and the NBA rules started to change rapidly in his last days with the team — he violated the COVID-19 protocols of the league, he was not happy with the team and wanted to be traded soon. The Rockets ended up trading “The Beard” to the Brooklyn Nets in January 2021.

A new era starts with the Nets

James Harden BKC

“The Beard” and the Nets made a good match from the beginning. The team is known to have uneventful NBA participation in the last years, but Harden’s first season with the team made that change.

The Brooklyn Nets managed to reach second place in the Eastern Conference table. Harden has not reached his usual form in terms of points per game.

He played in 36 and was just able to average 24.6 points per game. This is mainly because the team decided he was going to be point-guard while Irving would focus on his role as a shooting guard. This has made Harden be very accepting of his role and be more participative in terms of assists, averaging 10.9 per game.

James Harden’s Best Moments

James Harden’s sole presence in the basketball courts was enough reason to make everybody else fall around him. Harden’s flawless and elegant ways to score and move aside anyone willing to block him was a whole signature. It was like he could fly and be unseen every time he approached the basket.

Should Harden be a football player instead? His arms were not only formed to score but to assist in ways that seem as effortless and calculated as a QB’s play—absolutely outstanding performances.

James Harden’s family

James Harden Family

Brooklyn’s #13 has not tied the knot yet and has not been recently related to a partner. He has not had children either. His close family is confirmed by his mother, Monja Willis, his brother Akili, and sister Unique. Willis has been a fundamental pillar in Harden’s life and has been supporting him in every game she is able to attend. She was the one who got James in sports, to begin with, especially to get him out of any trouble he might be able to get into as a young boy in California.

James Harden’s net worth and career earnings

It is said that James Harden’s net worth is USD 165,000,000.00 and his career earnings surpass USD 224,000,000.00. “The Beard” began his professional career with the Oklahoma City Thunders earning around USD 4,000,000.00 per year. Once he transferred to the Houston Rockets, his yearly earnings skyrocketed from USD 5,800,000.000 to USD 15,000,000.00, and finally to USD 35,800,000.00. His new contract with the Brooklyn Nets will get him more than USD 40,000,000.00 per year. James is also number 16 in Forbes’ World’s Highest-Paid Athletes of 2021 list.

Frequently asked questions

Question: What is James Harden’s position?

Answer: James Harden is a shooting guard and has acted like one for most of his professional career as a basketball player. But the Californian has also played as point guard a few times with the Rockets and now with the Brooklyn Nets.

Question: How many 3s has Harden made?

Answer: James Harden became 5th in the all-time 3PM list. At that moment, he had scored nearly 2,300 3-pointers.

Question: Where is James Harden from?

Answer: Harden is from Los Angeles, California and has also lived in Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, and now in New York.

Question: Can James Harden Dunk?

Answer: “The Beard” is a very complete player, and his dunks are elegant and flawless. The Houston Rockets created a compilation of his best dunks in the 2019-2020 season.

Question: Where is James Harden playing?

Answer: As of 2021, Harden is playing for the Brooklyn Nets after playing for the Houston Rockets for 8 years.

Question: What is James Harden’s Instagram?

Answer: James Harden’s Instagram handle is @jharden13

Question: Who is James Harden dating?

Answer: James Harden has been rumored to date several women, but he has not confirmed who he is actually dating,

Question: What is James Harden’s career-high?

Answer: Harden has a career-high of 61 points in one game and has scored over 60 points per game 4 times. James also has outstanding average stats, and his career highs are 36.1 points per game, 11.2 assists per game, and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Question: Who is James Harden?

Answer: James Harden is a Californian basketball player who has acted as a shooting guard and point guard. He is known for his exceptional stats while playing for 8 long years with the Houston Rockets. He is also known for his long beard, which eventually made him earn “The Beard” nickname. Harden has won one World Cup, one Olympic Gold Medal, has been named the NBA Most Valuable Player, has starred 9 times in the NBA All-Star Game, and has been a 3 times NBA scoring champion.

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