Basketball star James Harden is known as much for his prominent beard as he is for his stellar game. Selected No. 3 in the 2009 NBA Draft, he began his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder, before an impressive trade to the Houston Rockets in 2012. Since then, Harden has emerged as a perennial MVP candidate, thanks in part. the kind of game that produced a record 60-point triple-double in January 2018.
Early Years and Success in High School.
James Edward Harden Jr. was born on August 26, 1989 in Los Angeles, California. James Sr., a former Navy sailor, was nearly absent from her life, leading to Harden and his two brothers being raised by their mother, Nun Willis, in the notorious Compton neighborhood.
By the time he first appeared for the men’s basketball team at Artesia High School in nearby Lakewood, Harden was a relatively modest 6’1 “and was affected by asthma attacks. However, he immediately impressed his coaches with his playing instinct. and after growing a few inches, became one of the best players in the nation. Harden led Artesia to back-to-back state championships and was named a McDonald’s All-American in 2007.
From Arizona to the World
Harden, one of the most decorated recruits in Arizona state basketball history, immediately helped turn a program that plunged to an 8-22 record in 2006-07. The Sun Devils improved to 21 wins during Harden’s freshman season, and increased to 25 wins and a spot in the NCAA Tournament in their third and final year. Named the Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year and an All-American, he concluded his college career third all-time in the ASU record book with an average of 19.0 points per game, and then had his No. 13 withdrawn by the college.
Career with the Houston Rockets
Since joining the Rockets before the 2012-13 season, Harden has become one of the best players in the NBA. He earned the first of six consecutive All-Star spots that year and finished second in MVP voting in 2015 and 2017 before finally claiming the trophy in 2018.
Despite his individual brilliance, Harden was unable to push the Rockets past the pool of contenders in his early years with the team. Houston reached the Western Conference Finals in 2015, but rebounded in the first round of the playoffs in 2016 and saw another promising season halted in the second round the following year.
With Paul bringing his veteran leadership to the team, and key players like Eric Gordon fitting in nicely alongside Harden in his prime, the Rockets won 65 games, the best in the NBA in 2017-18, before suffering a heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles. Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. The following year, Harden knocked Houston out of a hole early with his unstoppable scoring ability, but the season again ended at the hands of the Warriors in the playoffs.