The Houston Rockets $228 million man has just been given a notable award for one of his most signature attributes.
Yes, the Houston Rockets cornerstone James Harden was honored for his signature beard design by Sports Illustrated. His beard has been a integral part of his brand since coming on to scene to the NBA in 2008 and every facet of his name is attributed to that piece of kinky hair attached to his chin.
Sports Illustrated announced their Top 50 most fashionable athletes list this past week and although Harden wasn’t listed among their initial Top 20 release, he’s already been handed the “Best Beard Design” award. He was listed among others such as Conor McGregor, Malcolm Jenkins, Odell Beckham, Jr., Venus Williams, Mike Conley Jr. and many others.
The selection was made among a panel of six judges — including former NBA player Walt Frazier — who was a trailblazer in terms of style back in the days of the league’s infancy. I’m positive that there was a lot of thought and deliberation taken into this.
Here’s what the consensus was on why he won the award:
"From high-end designer pieces, to bold prints and gold chains, Harden isn’t afraid to take risks and he’s proven his style is so much more than just his signature facial hair. But damn—that beard is the best in the game."
Harden’s style isn’t one that jumps out at me, like Russell Westbrook’s, who was named the “Most Fashionable” by SI by the way, but he gets the job done with finishing things off with his beard. I’ve always seen to be casual with his dress and it’s rare to see him in a suit. The way he carries himself about is that he doesn’t seem to care if he’s the most stylish but he just wants to be the best basketball player out on the court.
All in all, that’s the way it should be but awards like these are good for athletes personal brands. We all know that these guys aren’t going to be able to play forever and to start making headway on things they’ll be doing after their careers are over is too continuing to build loyalty in the products that they represent and sell.
Although Harden would much rather have the MVP award, I’m sure his publicist is milking the hell out of this news. So there’s that.