When I heard about Russell Westbrook’s celebrity bowling tournament the first thing that popped in my head was the film The Big Lebowski. My wife would argue that whenever I hear about lots of things, my first thought wanders to the film, but that’s missing the point.
Lebowski is simply put, my favorite movie ever made. One of the great things about favorites is that they don’t have to make logical sense. I took a film class as an undergrad so I know that Citizen Kane is probably the best film ever made, but it isn’t my favorite. I know that the best James Bond was Sean Connery but I would be lying if I didn’t say that Daniel Craig was growing on me. I know that Superman is the Man of Steel, but I only have one superhero logo tattooed on my body and it’s a Flash lightning bolt. Lastly I know that Bohemian Rhapsody is more popular but Don’t Stop Me Now is my favorite Queen song. Favorites are yours and not subject to the whims of popularity or critical subjection.
My favorite player on the Oklahoma City Thunder, and by default my favorite player in the entire NBA, is James Harden. Even as I type that it sounds weird. It would be more popular to be a fan of Lebron James, that guy can roll. It would make more sense to be a fan of Kevin Durant, the best player on my favorite team. It might even make more sense to be fans of players like Russell Westbrook or Jeff Green, guys who actually get to you know, start. Yet there is no one I like better in the entire league then you James Harden. Even if I have to explain to people what my “Must Be the Beard” shirt means, and even if I have to put up with the occasional “Who?” that my colleagues at work ask you are still my favorite. Don’t worry James; obviously those people are not Thunder fans. So I wanted to write the first five reasons off the top of my head for why you are so awesome.
1. The beard - Obvious but still noteworthy. Outside of Baron Davis you have the best beard in the entire league. Just don’t let your beard run away with itself, nobody want you to venture into Joaquin Phoenix territory.
2. Draft Night – The “first date” of fandom. I remember going into Draft Night excited, the first ever draft of the OKC Thunder. At the same time I was really hoping we weren’t going to take Ricky Rubio so I was nervous. I’m not afraid to admit it though that when your name was called I yelled “WHAT?!?!” at my TV screen.
You won me over though within 15 seconds of your name being called. First was the bowtie, not too many males over the age of seven can pull off a bow tie, but you did it. The second was your smile, that was the most excited I think I will ever see someone about moving to Oklahoma City. You could have taken the Black Griffin route, and accepted your Thunder hat with a look like your career had just died, but no you were excited. That got me excited. They said about that Dude that sometimes there was, “Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude, in Los Angeles.” Or for my purposes, James Harden, in Oklahoma City.
3. The swag – Briefly touched on in point 2 but I think Harden is the best dressed man associated with the Thunder. Love the sweater over the collared shirt, that’s a combo I wear in front of my class.
4. The 3-point shot - I’ve never been a big dunk guy, for me I’ve always enjoyed watching a dagger three over an alley-oop. For me, once MJ retired the choice between Reggie Miller’s Pacers and Patrick Ewing’s Knicks wasn’t even a choice. You have some nights where you are off but you’re a rookie James. Ups and downs, strikes and gutters are the life of a rookie. I believe in you.
5. Feb. 10th, 2010 – In the final game before the All Star break in Portland. With the game on the line you score 13 straight points to start the fourth quarter effectively putting us ahead to stay. Portland’s aggression would not stand man. I was in the Dime Live chat at the time and it was amazing.
So what have we learned today; favorites don’t have to make logical sense. James Harden is my favorite player because he has an awesome sense of style, and strokes the three. This may have rambled a bit but remember The Big Lebowski? The plot didn’t matter, it was the journey and the character that mattered… and the beard abides, I sure hope he makes the Finals. Thunder up Man!