Fear the Beard, Seriously

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James Harden is the talk of the NBA.  Last year with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden proved to be the best sixth man in the league, heavily contributing to his team’s scoring.  He was a part of a young team that cruised to the Finals last year, but were devastated after losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.  Harden is a spectacular player.  Some think he is so spectacular that he should have been starting in the Finals.  James was stuck behind the shadows of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook last season.  Yes he was popular, but there is a difference between starting a game and coming off the bench.  Now, the 23 year old has a new home.  James Harden is now the Houston Rockets’ go-to-guy, and is fulfilling his new role.

The Houston Rockets were predicted to finish dead last in the Western Conference this year.  Houston picked up the most hyped player last year in Jeremy Lin, but there was still no hope for the Rockets.  The team appeared as though they would enter an era with a multitude of losing seasons, and with no hope of rebuilding.  Now, fake beards are sweeping Houston as James Harden is leading a once hopeless team, into a team who could possibly make the playoffs.  Harden has the ropes in his hand, and is doing what he has to do to turn the Houston Rockets into a winning team.

James Harden has established himself as a truly elite player in the NBA.  He hits clutch three pointers and can control any game at his own pace.  He is a 23 year old playing like an experienced veteran.  It is simply jaw-dropping.  Harden played as well as he possibly could have in last year’s playoffs.  When the Thunder reached the Finals, however, James showed his immaturity. He missed shot after shot, made stupid decisions, and even missed a breakaway layup.  He was choking, and it was hard to watch. However, that was then, and this is now. Fresh off of a gold medal win in the London Olympics, Harden is more wise, and is playing the game at a higher level.  In three seasons in Oklahoma City, Harden scored over 30 points in only three games.  After eight games in Houston,  he has scored 30 or more points in three games.  James Harden is downright scary to a defense.  He can attack the rim and finish strong, or pull it out and drain a three.  Not only can he score, but he is one of the quickest players in the league and can dart past almost any player.  James Harden has clearly seized and taken the opportunity to lead a team like Houston.

All in all, Harden is just a kid.  A kid with a grizzly beard and talent like no other.  Kids adore him for the beard and his signature look when he scores a deep three.  Harden leans over and puts down three fingers while sticking his tongue out while jogging down the floor.  His inner child shows, but it all contributes to his momentum and on-court swagger.  It seems like basketball analysts across the country critique Harden so harshly.  They forget he is so young because of how well he plays.  This is a man who is already a good player, but could become a great player.  Over the next few years, James Harden will blossom and be a threat to anyone in the world.  To all NBA teams, Fear the Beard.

Drew Agnello

King James Wins First Title

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LeBron James’ transition from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat was one of the ugliest breakups sports have seen. During that year in free agency, LeBron dug himself into a hole that he will have trouble getting out of. The young and immature LeBron was more interested in media attention than actually winning championships. LeBron humiliated his hometown of Cleveland by creating the show, The Decision. At the conclusion of the decision, LeBron decides to “take (his) talents to South Beach, and play for the Miami Heat.” LeBron joined Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to create the “Dream Team” and the big three. The big three had press conferences, introductions, and interviews. In one interview, LeBron predicted that the Heat will win 8 or more championships together. Regardless if he capable of repeating a championship 8 times, he dug himself a huge hole with those words.

The next season, LeBron James and the Dream Team fell apart in the championship game against the Dallas Mavericks. The media only criticized “ringless” LeBron even more. Going into 2012 season, the big three already had a year of experience with each other and showed with a great consistent regular season. When the playoffs arrived, all three players exploded. LeBron led the team in almost every statistic across the board, and the big three averaged just over 67 points, 10.5 assists, and 22.5 rebounds per game. The effort was enough because LeBron went on to win his first championship of his young career. The superior performance from the hole team raises the question, can LeBron follow through with his prediction? LeBron is on the right track. His statistics compare very well to the greatest NBA player ever, Michael Jordan.


Michael Jordan

LeBron James

Years in NBA



NBA Championships



Career PPG Avg

30.1 ppg

27.6 ppg

Total Career Points

32,292 (3rd)

19,045 (47th)

Career RPG Avg

6.2 rpg

7.2 rpg

Total Career Rebounds



Career APG Avg

5.3 apg

6.9 apg

Total Career Assists



NBA Scoring Champion






NBA Finals MVP



NBA Draft

Round 1, 3rd Pick

Round 1, 1st Pick

Rookie of the Year



All-Star Appearances



All-NBA First Team



NBA All-Defensive First Team



NBA All-Star Game MVP




James got his first ring at an age one year earlier than the age Jordan was when he got his first. Even if LeBron isn’t the best player to ever step on the court, he definitely has more weapons around him to win his predicted 8 championships. Most of LeBron’s numbers in the comparison are from his one-man show in Cleveland. Using this comparison with Michael Jordan, James looks as though he can win 7 more championships with Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and growing stars. Only time will tell, but as complete a player as LeBron James is, Michael Jordan will have competition defending his title of “the best player to ever play the game.”

Drew Porter