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James Harden's beard develops its own following

by Jenni Carlson Published: May 20, 2011

“It gives him strength.”

Brooks laughed.

But hey, if Wilson's beard can hold Irish dancers — as the tongue-in-cheek ESPN commercial with the Giants relief pitcher indicates — maybe Harden's beard holds something, too.

“It's like Sampson and his hair,” Thunder veteran Royal Ivey said. “If he cuts it, he's going to lose his superpowers.”

Ivey knows a thing or two about facial hair. He's had a goatee for years.

“I'm almost 30, and I can't grow a full beard like that,” he said. “I'm envious of his beard.”

Harden insists he didn't set out to have one of the best beards in sports. His facial hair simply started growing so fast that he decided he had to do something to make it look nice.

Hence, The Beard was born.

“It's part of me,” he said. “I've thought about cutting it — my mom wants me to cut it sometimes — but it's me.”

Some might ask what lurks inside the thick bushiness of The Beard — “I don't have any of those dancers or anything in my beard,” Harden said. “It's just hair” — but the better question might be what hides behind the hair.

What would James Harden look like without The Beard?

“He'll probably look like a brand new baby,” Ivey said. “He'll probably be two-toned.”

Brooks said, “It's hard to imagine him not having it. I think it's great, I really do. I like it now.”

The folks in Dallas-Fort Worth?

Not so much.