Even though the circumstances of James Harden’s departure were fairly ugly and have left quite the bitter taste in Thunder fans’ mouths, there were good times with The Beard. Three seasons of technically pure, surprisingly athletic and often gorgeous basketball.
Emotions still may be running hot for some about this, but it’s hard not to appreciate what Harden brought to OKC the last three years.
So let’s give one last slow clap for The Beard and remember his 10 greatest moments, according to me. And no, No. 1 isn’t going to be Metta World Peace trying to take Harden’s head off. Come on, I’m not that sad.
Amazing to think that James Harden was the first ever draft pick in official Thunder history. And he goes down in Thunder history with some serious style.
9: Arm in arm
At the time, this was an incredibly emotional and powerful scene. Now? It’s kind of awkward to watch.
8. Tear away
That’s tear as in rhymes with bear. But right now, it could be tear as in rhymes with beer. Which sounds pretty good right about now.
7. Flash oop
One of those plays only explained by the beard. How else could he pull that off?
6. Pizza rolls
In Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals in 2011, Harden showed his first real signs of being able to dominate a fourth quarter in a big spot. He handled the ball, hit big shots and took over when OKC needed him.
Remember when Harden drilled a dagger 3 against the Lakers and then talked smack with his boyhood idol? That was awesome.
Not only did James Harden score a career-high 40 points against the Suns, he did it on like four shots. Or something like that.
With the Thunder sputtering in a clinching Game 4 against Dallas, OKC needed a fourth quarter spark. And Harden completely took over. He scored 29 with 15 coming alone in the fourth as he owned the game and really punctuated it all with this awesome dunk.
2. Put it on his head
If I were to try and write James Harden’s reaction out in words, it would look like this I think: “Yeaaa heee hoo hoo hoo yeaaa.” Something like that.
1. The Dagger
No matter how you feel when Harden returns to Oklahoma City for the first time, you should give him a small little clap just for this shot alone.
It was just three years Thunder fans got to spend with that glorious beard, but there were certainly some great memories. A shame to see it end, but we’ll always have J.J. Hickson’s dignity.