Last updated on May 8th, 2022 at 11:43 am
One of the most prolific scorers in the NBA, James Harden’s ability to manipulate the game has seen him gain praise and criticism in equal proportions. To many NBA fans, James Harden is simply unguardable while to his opponents, he is a player who has mastered the art of finding loopholes in the rules of the game, with many pundits terming it as “borderline cheating”.
Regardless of who he goes against, Harden’s ability to perfectly execute 3-point plays, his impressive court vision, and his strength to absorb the contact during offensive plays has made him a lethal force in the NBA. Averaging 35+ points per game, James Harden is the only player in the history of the game who came close to breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s record, who averaged 38.4 points, 44.8 points, and 50.5 points per game in three different seasons.
Apart from his high-scoring ability, The Beard is also a highly durable player, having not suffered any career-threatening injuries in his illustrious professional basketball career. From the look of things, we should expect similar numbers in the coming 3 to 4 four seasons considering he’s still in his early 30’s.
|Real Names||James Edward Harden Jr.|
|Position||Shooting Guard/Point Guard|
|Current Team||Houston Rockets|
|NBA Salary||$42.7 Million|
|Net Worth||$180 Million|
James Edward Harden Jr. was born on 26th August 1989 in LA, California to James Harden Sr. and Monja Willis. Like many pro basketball players, Harden’s love for basketball began at a young age. Apart from experiencing a sudden growth sprout during his teen years, Harden also became fast and athletic. However, a series of asthmatic attacks would prove problematic to young and promising Harden.
James Harden Basketball Career
High School Career
At the end of his Junior year, James Harden had grown tremendously and was now over 6 feet tall. In addition, James Harden had also perfected his left-hand jump shot which made him quite lethal in the court. Harden would join Artesia High School where he led the team to their second-ever state championship title in his final year.
After graduating from High School, James Harden joined Arizona State University where he worked alongside Ty Pendergraph and Derek Glasser. With Arizona State University James Harden averaged 17 points and 2 steals and led the state with a staggering 40.7% from the 3-point range.
After his impressive freshman year, James Harden was named into the All-Pac-10 first team as well as the all-freshman team. In his sophomore year, James Harden graced the covers of Sports Illustrated college edition after one of the most outstanding freshman year. Harden managed to finish his sophomore year not only with an average of 20.1 points per game but also with a career-high of 40 points in their victory against UTEP.
Despite his impressive final season, James Harden was far from the basketball superstar that he has transformed into. According to his college coach, he expected James Harden to be a first-round pick, however, he certainly did not expect to see him become one of the best players on the planet.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder drafted the beard as the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft with Blake Griffin becoming the number one overall pick that year. Within the first few years, it became evidently clear that OKC had struck gold with James Harden. During his first season with the team, James Harden averaged 9.9 points per game, which made him the 9th highest scoring rookie in the NBA. In his sophomore season with OCK, James Harden averaged 12.1 points per game with a shooting percentage of 43%.
In his third season with OCK, James Harden was averaging an impressive 17 points per game from the bench. This meant that James Harden was now the team’s third-highest scorer behind Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook. Moreover, thanks to James Harden’s contribution from the bench, OKC made it into the NBA play-offs. After an impressive perfomance, OKC made it to the Western Conference finals where they faced Dallas Mavericks.
Despite putting forward a solid effort, OKC would lose the series to Dallas Mavericks who went ahead and became the new NBA champion. With OKC, Kevin Durant was the main star of the team, while Westbrook served as the team’s playmaker and athletic point guard. After failing to the Dallas Mavericks, OKC returned to the following NBA season with a bang.
The trio of James Harden, Russel Westbrook, and Kevin Durant would reach its peak. By the end of the season, OKC was second in the Western Conference power rankings. Moreover, Harden’s game had now matured, as he began to show how lethal he can be on the court. From this point onwards, Harden’s career with OKC saw an upward trajectory, with the player averaging 25+ points in his 4th, 5th, and 6th season. In the 2011-2012 season, James Harden was named the 6th man of the year. Although OKC made it to the Playoff, they were eventually eliminated by the Miami Heat in a 5-game loss.
Despite his impressive first few seasons with the Thunder, James Harden eventually got traded to the Houston Rockets just before the 2012-2013 season began. The main reason for the trade was a failure for OKC and the Houston Rockets to reach an agreement. Although many people including NBA fans did not expect the trade to happen, Harden went on to have an impressive individual season and was not beginning to stand out as one of the best players in the NBA.
With the Rockets, Harden would win yet another 6th man of the year award and the first-ever NBA all-star appearance. After an impressive season in 2015, James Harden finally made it into the MVP conversation and finished second overall. Two years down the line, Harden would once again have another impressive season averaging 26.5 points per game. Although Harden was considered an MVP candidate for the year, he would once again finish second with former teammate, Russel Westbrook emerging as the winner.
In 2018, James Harden picked up from where he left off from the previous season, this time around averaging 28.8 points and 11.1 assists per game. Harden’s impressive performance not only saw him become the league’s scoring leader but also earned him a slot into the All-NBA first team. This time around there was no stopping James Harden as he became the year’s league MVP.
The following season, James Harden was once again impressive with his scoring, averaging an impressive 36 points, 7.5 assists, and 6.6 rebounds per game. After an impressive regular season, he was named into the All-NBA first team and also led the league in scoring. From 2013, James Harden has never missed an All-Star game making 8 appearances.
James Harden NBA Salary, Net Worth, Endorsement & Deals
James Harden Salary
James Harden earns an annual base salary of $42.7 million. In 2017, James Harden signed a 4-year extension deal with Houston Rockets valued at $171 million. Currently, James Harden is the 5th best player in the NBA one spot behind fellow teammate, John Wall.
With OKC, James Harden earned an average annual salary of $4 million considering he made a deal with the team under a rookie agreement. From 2013 to 2017, James Harden earned an annual salary of $15.7 million, this time around with the Houston Rockets.
With the Houston Rockets, James Harden agreed to a deal under the bird rule. Once his contract came to end, James Harden once again resigned with the Houston Rockets, this time around agreeing to a 4-year deal that was signed using the cap space. His current deal with the Hoston Rockets is expected to run until 2023.
According to projections, James Harden will be the third-highest player in the NBA by 2021. Apart from his NBA salary James Harden also earns additional income from deals and endorsements. Estimates put it that James Harden earns an additional $17 million from shoe sale commissions.
James Harden Net Worth
One of the highest-paid players in the NBA, James Harden has a net worth of $300 million. Like most well-established NBA players, James Harden generates a significant amount of his income from brand deals and endorsements. Apart from Adidas and Trolli, James Harden also has a deal with Amazon, where he receives commissions for his favourite workout products.
In 2015, James Harden signed a 13-year deal with Adidas valued at $200 million. The massive Adidas deal made James Harden the second player in NBA’s history to receive an endorsement deal that nearly matched his NBA contract. Reliable reports indicated that the deal included apparel collections and off-court signature footwear as well as extensive brand tours to various countries in Asia and Europe. James Harden earns mostly from incentives opportunities.
Prior to signing the Adidas deal, Harden had previously worked with Nike. One of the main reasons why Adidas decided to go for James Harden was mainly due to his weird vibe and his unique style of play. The Harden Vol 4 are James Harden’s latest signature release and currently go for $78.
In 2016, James Harden entered into an agreement with the Ferrara Candy brand, Trolli widely known for their tagline, Weirdly Awesome. Just like Adidas, Trolli selected Harden mainly because of his rather off-beat personality. Apart from being involved in the company’s product development, James Harden has also been featured in several of the brands national ad campaigns.
After Harden’s impressive MVP season, Trolli decided to immortalize Harden’s victory by releasing the “most valuable candy”. The giant candy shoes were the exact replicas of the player’s signature Adidas shoes and went for $2,677 per pair. Guinness Book of Records acknowledged the shoes as the most valuable candy to ever be sold.
In 2015, James Harden invested about $15 million for a small stake percentage of the Houston Dynamo, a team that participates in the MLS. The acquisition made James Harden the 5th member of the team’s ownership group that also owns the BBVA Stadium and Houston Dash. Other members of the group include renowned businessman, Gabriel Brenner, Jake Silverstein, former boxer Oscar De La Hoya and Ben Guill.