James Harden’s iconic facial hair has gone through various iterations over the years
NBA star James Harden has become synonymous with his iconic beard.
But the now 34-year-old former NBA MVP, also known as ‘The Beard,’ hasn’t always sported his eye-catching facial foliage.
James Harden (pictured) has spent fifteen seasons in the NBACredit: Getty
An unrecognizable high school snap of Harden recently resurfaced, showing him without his trademark beardCredit: Getty
Originally from California, Harden burst onto the basketball scene starring for Artesia High School in Lakewood.
A McDonald’s All-American in 2007, the 6-foot-5, 190-pound guard looked unrecognizable in a recently resurfaced photo from his teenage days, via TalkSport.
Starring at a basketball camp in 2005, Harden sported a short haircut and no facial hair as he dribbled in ice-white and red sneakers.
Ranked 21st in the nation by ESPN in 2007, Harden went on to star for Arizona State where he was named an All-Pac-10 First-Teamer twice, and the Pac-10’s Player of the Year in 2009.
And it was during his days with the Sun Devils, that Harden slowly adopted his signature look.
According to his brother Akili Roberson, who spoke to The Athletic about the ten-time All-Star’s facial hair in 2018: “We didn’t care about facial hair. Our uncle or father, they didn’t wear a beard.
“It was never an issue. It was something to try. I don’t think he had peach fuzz. He was never a hairy guy like that. He didn’t have real facial hair until college.”
Roberson went on to add that he believes it was his influence that led Harden to grow his beard out.
“To be truthful I think he started growing a beard because he saw mine coming in and he got hair on his face,” he said, continuing: “He won’t say that’s what it was, but he won that battle.”
But Harden vehemently denied this, commenting: “You see his beard? It’s terrible, I didn’t get it from him, I just got it. I didn’t get it from him.”
Roberson, who is also Harden’s barber, explained that his brother began to let his beard grow out during his sophomore season.
Then after being drafted third overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009, Harden seemingly decided it was time for a change.
Roberson said: “Once he got to OKC, he just one summer said, ‘Don’t cut my beard. Just line it up.’ It went from there. It can grow at a fast pace and it grows all over his face.”
And Harden’s beard has gone on to help him establish his brand.
“You might not know my name but you know that beard from somewhere,” he explained.
“Same thing with [Michael] Jordan. You know that sign with him spreading his legs in the air with the ball. It’s a cool feeling.”
The Beard has gone on to forge a legendary reputation during his fifteen seasons in the NBA.
Named the MVP in 2018, Harden has led the league in scoring three times, and in assists twice.
Most of his career was spent with the Houston Rockets, where ‘Fear The Beard’ could regularly be spotted on merchandise and social media.
Along with nine seasons in Houston, Harden has also starred for the Thunder, Brooklyn Nets, and the Philadelphia 76ers.
He was traded to the LA Clippers on November 1 and has since made five appearances alongside the likes of Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and Russell Westbrook.
Harden began to experiment with his facial hair while at Arizona StateCredit: Getty
Harden has become synonymous with his iconic beardCredit: Getty