Everyone thinks Oklahoma City needs James Harden.
Turns out, it might be the other way around.
Have you seen pictures from the All-White Yacht Party?
Apparently, The Beard hosted a party over the weekend, and from the look of things, it was quite the event. Everyone dressed in head-to-toe white, hung out on a yacht and, um, had a lot of fun.
If you believe what you read on Twitter, Diddy or Sean Combs or whatever he's calling himself these days even sent over some pricey cases of Ciroc vodka.
Nothing wrong with that.
In fact, my favorite picture is one of Harden surrounded by lovely women. He is shirtless and wearing white pants, a massive gold chain and a gold-and-black, tiger-print cowboy hat.
And here you thought Kobe Bryant had the corner on photos of shirtless NBA players.
I mean, Harden is looking more and more like Mr. T every day.
But seriously, if this is how The Beard parties now, what can we expect after he signs what everyone expects will be a massive contract? And if he happens to sign that deal with a team in Los Angeles or New York or some other hot spot?
The Beard may become a wild hair.
Oklahoma City can save Harden from himself.
Oh, sure, there are plenty of folks who think Harden will be the one helping OKC by staying in town, and there's no doubt that the Thunder is better with him than without him. The guard is a unique talent. He creates his own shot or creates for his teammates. He gets to the rim or drains the three. He makes already the great talents of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook even better.
I mean, who could forget KD, Russ and James standing arm in arm on the sidelines during Game 5 of the NBA Finals? The Thunder stars watched as a game, a series and a season ended with a crushing defeat, then they all professed that they'd make sure it never ended that way again.
Harden even said some things that make you believe he'd be willing to sacrifice some coin to stay in Oklahoma City.
“This is something special here,” he said a few days after that Finals loss. “A dynasty could be, is being built here. We're winning, we're having fun, and we're brothers.
“The other stuff, you can't buy.”
And still, the rest of league holds out hope that the Thunder and Harden aren't able to agree on a deal before he becomes a restricted free agent next summer.
He is one of the league's most coveted young players, and if that weren't enough of a ride, check out the run that Harden has been on the past four months. He won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. He helped the Thunder win the Western Conference and advance to the NBA Finals. He landed a spot on the U.S. Olympic team and won a gold medal a couple weeks ago in London.
Now, he's part of Foot Locker's new national ad campaign. He joins Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and several other NBA stars in the commercials, though none is as funny as the “Tear Away” spot that Harden does with Westbrook.
If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and search for “tear away beard” on YouTube.
Life is good for James Harden.
But you have to wonder if The Beard Express has a chance of running off the rail. Earlier this summer, his account on Instagram, a picture-based social media website, had a photo of a note with some news.
“JUST FOUND OUT I GOT TRADED TO THE HORNETS,” it read. “I'LL MISS OKC.”
Not long after, the picture was deleted.
Turns out it was a hoax.
Hard to believe the Thunder was real happy that one of its potential franchise players is joking around about that.
Then again, that gold-and-black, tiger-print cowboy hat couldn't have been a big hit either.
But I'm telling you, the Thunder could use this to its advantage. Harden clearly has some wild child in him, and there's nothing wrong with that, but here's where the Thunder can make OKC a huge positive. Sell Harden and his people on the fact that he shouldn't live in party city with a bunch of money. Convince them that he can visit places like L.A. and Miami in the offseason but that he needs to spend most of his time in a place like Oklahoma City.
Last I checked, Lake Hefner didn't have enough water to float a boat big enough for another All-White Yacht Party.