James Harden: biography
James Edward Harden Jr. is a professional basketball player from America, performing for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA) on the point guard position since 2012. Initially, he was an amateur player in the Arizona State basketball club. However, his interest turned into love for the game and professionality. So, in 2009 the Oklahoma City Thunder selected him in the NBA draft, and the sportsman started working seriously.
Childhood and youth
James Harden was born on August 26, 1989, to the Christian family. The family's house was situated in the notorious district in California, the USA. His father, James Harden Sr, was addicted to drugs and spent much time in prison. That's why his mother Monja Wills had to support the big family herself (besides James, she had a daughter Arnique Jelks and a son Akil Roberson). James was the youngest child. Before his birth, after that of his older sister, their mother suffered a string of miscarriages. James Harden is of mixed-race: he has Afro-American roots.
Monja Wills didn't want James to get acquainted with drugs and crimes. So, she took him to a basketball gym. Initially, the boy couldn't perform base movements, and the woman decided to send him to play baseball for three years.
Growing up, he became more interested in basketball. Eventually, he made the game his life.
James Harden studied at Artesia High School in Lakewood, California. There he joined the high school basketball team and even led it to the California state title being a junior and a senior student.
As a sophomore, the player made average results of 13,2 points. Being a junior, he improved the stats and got 18,8 points, 7,7 boards, and 3,5 assists. Studying in the last grade, James averaged the same results: 18,8 points, 7,9 rebounds, and 3,9 assists.
In 2006 he played for AAU team, Pump-N-Run Elite in the Las Vegas Adidas Super 64 championship. In the winning match against a DC, Assault James scored 34 points. In the game also starred such sportsmen as Michael Beasley, Nolan Smith, and Austin Freeman. In the next ring against the Houston Hoops, the player made 33 points. The team got to the finals where won Kevin Love's Southern California All-Stars.
At an early age, the sportsman was called a McDonald's All-American and bagging second-team All-American honors. Having graduated, Harden entered Arizona State College. He performed for the college team in the Pac-10 Conference. He made 17,8 points, 5,3 rebounds, and 3,2 assists. His team was considered a bubble team for the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Left out of the tournament, they were selected to the 2008 NIT field and defeated Alabama State and Southern Illinois before falling to defense of a national champion Florida.
Having finished a freshman year, James got the title of the first team All-Pac-10 and was voted to the conference all-freshman team. He was also named first team All-District by the NABC and the USBWA.
Many professional experts noted the prodigy; he appeared on many pre-season All-American lists and the cover of the Sports Illustrated college basketball preview issue. The player was included in the Wooden Award preseason watch list. On November 30, 2008, in the winning match against UTEP, he scored 40 points.
James Harden closed his sophomore season with average results of 20,1 points, 5,6 rebounds, 4,2 assists. In 2009 he took part in All-Pac 10 Tournament and was subsequently called the Pacific-10 Conference's Player of the Year.
In 2009 the student applied for the NBA draft (he chose Rob Pelinka as his agent) and was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden set several records. For example, he made the fourth highest 3-point percentage in NBA history (.375) for a player under the age of 21. The player scored the most consecutive 3-point makes by a rookie since Houston guard Michael Dickerson made eight straight in May 1999.
On December 7, 2009, in the fight against the Golden State Warriors Harden scored 26 points. He was subsequently named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
During the next season, James made 10 points in more than 54 matches. One of the most successful games was the game against the Phoenix Suns, on March 6, 2011, where he recorded 26 points.
In the season 2011-2012 James Harden scored 16,8 points, 4,1 rebounds and 3,7 assists per game in 62 fights and got the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award.
On April 18, 2012, in the match with the Phoenix, the sportsman showed high results of 40 points and became the first NBA player in a reserve role to score 40 points since Dallas guard Rodrigue Beaubois did it in March 2010.
James led the Oklahoma City Thunder to the finals. Unfortunately, there the Miami Heat beat them.
In 2012 the club suggested James Harden sign a four-year $55 million contract, but the player didn't agree saying that he was given too little time to think it over.
After the situation, on October 27, 2012, the club traded Harden and his colleagues Daequan Cook, Cole Aldrich, and Lazar Hayward to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb.
Although Harden previously played a supporting role behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the new team hoped him to be the best player. After the trade, on October 31, 2012, they signed a five-year $80 million contract (the sum was more significant than the Thunder suggested, obviously). In the same day, James performed in his debut game: in the match against the Detroit Pistons. He made 37 points, 12 assists, six rebounds, 4 steals, and 1 block. He was the fourth NBA player in the last 25 years to post those results in a single game.
Two days later, in the match with the Atlanta Hawks, he made 45 points. In total, in two first games, the sportsman scored 82 points – it was a new NBA season. Earlier, in 1959 Wilt Chamberlain recorded 79 points in two early games for the Philadelphia Warriors.
Harden made the first career triple-double on February 2, 2013. It was the match with the Charlotte Bobcats where he scored 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. James was selected as a reserve for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game – it was his first All-Star selection.
The player recorded 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in the winning game by the West over the East. On February 20, 2013, Jarden beat his former basketball club – the Oklahoma City Thunder: he scored 46 points.
Interestingly, Harden showed the best season stats among colleagues. So, he made 25,9 points, 4,9 rebounds, 5,8 assists on average in 78 games. In total, the player registered 2,023 points which made him the fifth player in team's history to reach 2,000 points in one campaign.
In 2014 James became a starter for the All-Star Game. There he made 8 points, 5 assists, 1 rebound, and 1 steal. On February 5, 2014, playing against the Phoenix Suns, Harden recorded 23 points. It helped him become the third player who had managed to make 3000 points in the first 120 fights after Elvin Hayes (3,320) and Tracy McGrady (3,056). On February 25, 2014, the sportsman made high 43 points and earned All-NBA First Team honors.
At the beginning of the next season, Harden was called the Most Valuable Player. On December 11, 2014, the sportsman registered 44 points playing against the Sacramento Kings. On December 13, in the winning fight with the Denver Nuggets, he succeeded to make the third career triple-double of 24 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds. In the next match, on December 22, James showed his excellence again, having scored 44 points in the game with the Portland Trail Blazers.
On January 19, Harden set a new record of 45 points in the match with the Indiana Pacers. On February 8, 2015, he repeated the score playing against the Trail Blazers. On February 23, 2015, James made one more season triple-double of 31 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the fight with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
On March 6, 2015, the Houston Rockets faced the Detroit Pistons, where Harden shone with 38 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists. In the match against the Denver Nuggets which took place on March 19, 2015, the player made the highest result of 50 points. However, already on April 1, 2015, he set a new record of 51 points. It was the match against the Kings – his 33rd 30-point game of the season and the ninth 40-point game of the season. James was the first team's player to score 50 points in two games in a season.
Four days later, Harden got 41 points in the match against his former team the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Houston Rockets got to the finals, where they faced the Utah Jazz. Harden scored the fourth season triple-double consisting of 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists
The player brought to the team their first division title since 1994. He was again named to the All-NBA First Team. Unfortunately, in the NBA MVP voting, he got a second place after Stephen Curry.
In the playoffs, the Rockets fought against the Los Angeles Clippers. There Harden made his first playoff triple-double of 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists. In Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the team faced the Golden State Warriors, where James scored 45 points.
Harden started the next season with scoring 43 points in the game against the Sacramento Kings. One day later, on November 7, he made 46 points playing with the Los Angeles Clippers. These successful matches brought him the title of the first Houston player to score 43 points in two consecutive games.
On November 18, the team's government fired head coach Kevin McHale. In the same day, performing against the Portland Trail Blazers Harden recorded 45 points.
On November 27, he and his team faced the Philadelphia 76ers. His 50 points led the team to the victory.
On January 20, Harden succeeded to score the first season triple-double (the seventh one in his career) of 33 points, 17 rebounds,
and 14 assists, fighting against the Detroit Pistons.
Several days later, on January 24, the sportsman made the second season triple-double, having recorded 23 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in the win over the Dallas Mavericks.
On March 25, James registered one more season triple-double of 32 points, 13 assists and 13 rebounds fighting against the Toronto Raptors. His team won with the score 112-109.
In general, the March was thriving and prosperous in terms of achievements for the player. So, in total, he scored 457 points, 152 assists, and 102 rebounds. By the way, now he is the first and the only player to score at least 450 points, 150 assists and 100 rebounds in a month since Oscar Robertson did it in December 1967.
On July 9, 2016, the player signed a four-year $118,1 million extension with the club. In September 2016, it was announced that he would perform on a point guard position at the beginning of the season. So, starting the season, the player made 34 points, 17 assists, and 8 rebounds in the lost match to the Los Angeles Lakers. He was subsequently called the second NBA player who had managed to score at least 30 points and 15 assists in an opening match since Timothy Duane "Tim" Hardaway did it in 1990.
On December 14, Harden got 15 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds which led the Rockets to the victory over the Sacramento. It was his fifth season and the 14th career triple-double. Later he helped the Rockets win the New Orleans Pelicans having scored 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists. On December 23, the player made high 17 assists in the match against the Memphis Grizzlies.
On December 30, the player succeeded to score the seventh season triple-double of 30 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists and won the opposers with the score 140- 116 .
Later the Houston Rockets fought against the New York Knicks. James made 53 points, 17 assists and 16 rebounds – it was his 17th career triple-double and the fourth match with 50 points. Two days later he managed to make the ninth triple-double in the game against the Washington Wizards.
In general, the winter games were successful for the player: So, on the 8th and 10th of January he scored the 10th and the 11th triple-double which helped his team defeat the opposers.
Several days later, on the 15th and 17th of January, James recorded the 12th and the 13th triple-doubles. On January 27, in the match against the Philadelphia 76ers, the player made the 14th triple-double of 51 points, 13 rebounds, and 13 assists
On February 3, performing against the Chicago Bulls, he scored his 10000th career point.
On February 15, the player made the 15th season triple-double of 38 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in the match against the Miami Heat. In total, James Harden closed the season having scored 22 triple-doubles, 2356 points, 907 assists, and 600 rebounds.
James took part in the MVP voting but finished the second after the former colleague.
In Game 5 of the playoff, the Houston Rockets faced the San Antonio Spurs. In the match, he recorded the second playoff triple-double of 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, but the team lost.
On July 8, 2017, James signed a 4-year $160 million contract with the Houston Rockets again. It is the wealthiest NBA contract. On November 5, the player scored 56 points in the win over the Utah Jazz - the most prominent team's result since 1978.
He became the first team's player to score at least 20 points in every game of a season.
On December 29, James scored 48 points in the fight against the Portland Trail Blazers.
On December 20, fighting against the Los Angeles Lakers James Harden made 51 points, but the Rockets were defeated with the score 122-116.
Harden set a new franchise record, having got at least 20 points in 30 consecutive games.
In the match against the Los Angeles Clippers the player had 51 points – it was his third 50-point season game.
On December 31, playing against the Lakers James made 40 points and injured his knee. So, he had to miss 2 weeks of games – in total, the team played 7 matches without him. On January 26, in his first fight after recovering, the player scored 23 points and 11 assists – then the team faced the New Orleans Pelicans.
Totally, in the season the player scored 3347 assists, having outrun Allen Frazier Leavell who had 3333.
On January 30, the Rockets met the Orlando Magic where Harden shone: he made 60 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists – it was a perfect triple-double!
On March 25, the team won for the 60th time in the season due to Harden's triple-double of 18 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds. It was the match against the Atlanta Hawks.
On average, Harden got 30,4 points per game and earned his first scoring title.
In the playoffs, playing against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Harden scored 44 points. In the next game with the Jazz, he had 41 points. The fight against the Golden State Warriors brought the player 41 points. In Game 4 which turned out to be winning the player scored 30 points. In Game 6, James succeeded to make 32 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds, but the team lost. Unfortunately, in Game 7, the Rockets were beaten and had to leave the playoff.
In June, Harden got the NBA Most Valuable Player title for the 2017–18 season – he was the third player in franchise history to receive the award after Moses Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon. Also, he was voted the National Basketball Players Association's MVP for the 2017–18 season, earning the honor for a second time.
The season 2018-2019 started for the Rockets with the bad news: Harden injured left hamstring and had to miss 3 first games. Having returned, in November, he became the third best player of the team. On November 26, James had 54 points, 13 assists and 11 turnovers in the match against the Washington Wizards. Two days later the sportsman succeeded to register the first season and the 36th career triple-double of 25 points, 17 assists, and 11 rebounds. The December turned out to be unfortunate for the team: they lost 7 matches of 9.
However, very soon Harden alongside Chris Paul led the team to the 21-15 record.
So, on January 11, the Houston Rockets faced and defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers due to Harden's 43 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.
In the next match which took place on January 13, the player scored 38 points, but the Rockets were beaten.
The Houston Rockets defeated the opposers Memphis Grizzlies with the score 112-94. Then Harden made 57 points. The next unfortunate game with the Brooklyn Nets brought him 58 points. On January 23, he got the highest result of 61 points and won the New York Knicks. On February 2, fighting against the Utah Jazz, the player set the third-longest streak in NBA history for games with 30-plus points.
On February 13, the Rockets fought against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the sportsman got 30 points.
James missed the next game because of an illness and a strained neck and got back on February 25. In that match with the Atlanta Hawks, he scored 28 points and snapped his 32-game streak with at least 30 points. The game against the Miami Heat was easy for him: he made 58 points and won the opposers. On March 19, playing against the Hawks, Harden got 31 points and was recognized the first player in NBA history to score 30 or more points against all 29 other teams in a single season. On March 20, the sportsman had 57 points in the fight against the Memphis Grizzlies. It was the 7th 50-point game for him in that season.
Two days later James Harden showed an astonishing result of 61 points and gifted his team the victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
On March 31, Harden scored 50 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the winning fight against the Sacramento Kings – it became his 9th 50-point match in a regular season.
On April 3, the player was included in the list of 3 people in the NBA history to make 2,700+ points and 500+ assists in a season. On April 7, the Houston faced the Phoenix Suns where James made 30 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, and 9 assists. Harden gifted the team 2 victories over the Utah Jazz with 32 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists.
The player closed the season with the most significant scoring margin (8.1 ppg). The previous person to do it was Chamberlain in 1962–63.
His current salary is $30,570,000. The net worth is evaluated at $145 million.
National team career
In 2012 James Harden performed for the United States national team at the Olympics. The team won a gold medal there. Additionally, he was also a member of the team which won the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2014. Harden was a candidate for the 2016 Olympics, but later he left the team.
- 2016-2017 season. 81 played games, 8.1 rebounds, 11.2 assists, 1.5 steals, 5 blocks, 29.1 points per game.
- 2017-2018 season. 782 played games, 5.4 rebounds, 8.8 assists per game, 1.8 steals, 7 blocks, 30.4 points per game.
- 2018-2019 season. 78 played games, 6.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2 steals, 7 blocks, 36.1 points per game.
James Harden has dated many famous women, and all his affairs were the subject to people's heated discussions.
So, in the list of his ex-girlfriends, you can see Sarah Bellew, an American radio personality, Reality TV star Tahiry Jose, model Maliah Michel and actress Amber Rose, a television personality Khloé Kardashian, stripper Nelly Wit Da Jelly, Karrueche Tran (ex Chris Brown's woman). Now the sportsman is dating to an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer and actress Ashanti.
Now it is difficult to find Harden's photo without beard – he started growing his trademark beard in 2009 when became tired of shaving. His beard has appeared in songs and on shirts, shoes, sneakers.
On August 3, 2015, the sports company Adidas signed a 13-year $200 million deal with Harden.
The player is 6 feet 5 inches tall (1.96 m) and weigh 220 pounds (100 kg).
His feet are of 11,5 size.
James Harden has misaligned teeth.
In March 2018, Harden evoked a scandal which could have led to big problems. So, fighting against the Los Angeles Clippers, Harden crossed over its player Wesley Johnson causing him to fall over. Harden stopped for a few seconds to stare down at Johnson then drilled a three pointer. People thought a fistfight would start. However, the guilty sportsman apologized, and the match continued as if nothing had happened.
Achievements and awards
The player has a long list of achievements and awards he got in his career. Let's know several of them!
In 2012, he was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year. Harden was voted the inaugural National Basketball Players Association's MVP for the 2014–15 season. In 2017 he won the Most Valuable Player title. He is a seven-time NBA All-Star and has earned All-NBA Team honors five times, including four times to the first team.