|Full Name:||James Harden|
|Nickname:||Step Daddy, The Beard, No D Harden|
|Place of Birth:||Bellflower, California|
|Parents:||Monja Willis, James Harden Sr.|
James Harden is an American basketball player who currently plays for the Houston Rockets. He has slowly worked his way up from being one of the best bench players early in his career to being one of the NBA’s biggest superstars, winning MVP honors in 2018. Playing primarily as a shooting guard, Harden possesses a unique skill set that enables him to score in a variety of ways, making him one of the league’s most consistent and versatile scorers.
Harden was born on August 26, 1989, in Los Angeles. He grew up in Southern California and played college basketball at Arizona State. After two years at Arizona State, Harden went pro and was the third pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He began his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder, spending three seasons with the Thunder as a complementary player to stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. When Harden and Oklahoma City couldn’t agree to an extension, he was traded to the Houston Rockets in 2012.
In Houston, Harden began to blossom into one of the league’s best players. He averaged over 25 points per game during his first season with the Rockets, a feat he has repeated in every subsequent season. Likewise, Harden became an All-Star for the first time during his first year in Houston and has become a perennial All-Star. Harden increased his scoring to over 30 points per game during both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, leading the NBA in scoring both seasons while winning MVP in 2018. Harden also represented the United States at the 2012 Olympics, helping the Americans win a Gold Medal.
James Harden grew up in Southern California and attended Artesia High School in Lakewood. He started to shine as a sophomore, averaging 13.2 points per game. As a junior, he led Lakewood to a state title while averaging 18.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. He put up nearly identical numbers while leading Lakewood to another state title and being named a McDonald’s All-American.
Harden attended Arizona State, playing for the Sun Devils under head coach Herb Sendek. As a freshman, Harden posted 17.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. Those numbers earned him First-Team All-Pac-10 honors. However, the Sun Devils failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament and eventually saw their season end in the NIT quarterfinals.
As a sophomore, Harden was one of the best players in the country. He averaged 20.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. Harden was named Pac-10 Player of the Year and was a consensus All-American. His efforts were enough to get Arizona State to the NCAA Tournament after a six-year drought. However, after beating Temple in the First Round, the Sun Devils lost to Syracuse in the Round of 32. After the season, Harden decided to forgo his final two years of eligibility and enter the NBA Draft.
The Oklahoma City Thunder made Harden the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He immediately became one of the team’s most important reserves. In three seasons playing for the Thunder, Harden started just seven games, taking on a supporting role behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. However, Harden’s efforts off the bench were recognized when he won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2012 after scoring 16.8 points per game.
During the summer of 2012, Harden and the Thunder failed to agree to terms for an extension. That prompted a trade that sent Harden along with Daequan Cook, Cole Aldrich and Lazar Hayward to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and multiple draft picks. Harden soon signed a five-year, $80 million contract with the Rockets, making him a key part of Houston’s future and a building block for the franchise.
In Houston, Harden immediately became a starter and has started every subsequent game in which he’s played for the Rockets. The increased playing time led to increased production with Harden averaging 25.9 points per game during the 2012-13 season. He was named to the All-Star Team for the first time in his career that season while helping the Rockets snap a three-year playoff drought. Of course, they were eliminated by the Thunder in the First Round of the playoffs.
Harden continued to improve as both a scorer and a playmaker with the Rockets. During the 2016-17 season, he averaged 29.1 points per game while also leading the league with 11.2 assists per game. That year, Harden also recorded a career-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The following summer, Harden signed a four-year, $160 million extension with the Rockets, making his contract worth $228 million over six years, the richest in NBA history.
During the 2017-18 season, Harden led the league in scoring with 30.4 points per game, which earned him MVP honors. He led the NBA in scoring again during the 2018-19 season with 36.1 points per game. The Rockets have made the playoffs in every season since Harden joined the team, including trips to the Western Conference Finals in 2015 and 2018.
As of 2020, James Harden has an estimated net worth of roughly $145 million, a figure that is likely to increase in the years to come. Since joining the Houston Rockets in 2012, he has signed multiple extensions that will keep him in Houston through the end of the 2022-23 season. By that point, Harden will have made in excess of $318 million in NBA contracts.
In addition to his salary, Harden has several lucrative endorsement deals. In 2015, he agreed to a 13-year deal with Adidas worth $200 million. He also has an endorsement deal with UnderArmor and candy company Trolli.
James Harden signed a four-year, $18.7 million contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009.
James Harden signed a five-year, $80 million deal with the Houston Rockets in 2012.
James Harden signed a four-year, $118.1 million deal with the Houston Rockets in 2016.
James Harden signed a four-year, $160 million deal with the Houston Rockets in 2017.
Growing up, Harden was the youngest of three kids. He has a sister named Arnique Jelks and a half-brother named Akili Roberson. In the past, Harden has been romantically linked to Khloe Kardashian, rapper Trina, reality TV star Tahiry Jose, Amber Rose, among others.
More recently, he’s dated Olla Naber, an Instagram model. Harden has two kids, although the identity of the mother is unclear.