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OKC Thunder fans follow The Beard

Billy Janssen's James Harden-like beard causes fans to do a double-take at Chesapeake Energy Arena. But Harden's game on the court is what attracted Janssen.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: May 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm •  Published: May 15, 2012

Billy Janssen sees all the James Harden wannabes in their fake beards and their foam masks.

Wanna beard like Harden?

Janssen beat you there.

“Mine's legit,” he said. “It's homegrown.”

Nothing fake or foam here. The Oklahoma City resident has a beard that even the Thunder super sub could appreciate. It's full and thick and bushy.

And there's never been a better time to be part of the Harden Hysteria. Two weeks ago, he propelled the Thunder to a first-round sweep against the Mavs. Last week, he won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award. And Monday night, he was cheered like never before at The Peake.

Ron Artest and his elbow are in town for the playoffs. While the Laker enforcer was vilified during Game 1 for the elbow he tried to implant in the side of Harden's head a few weeks ago, Harden was celebrated with signs and T-shirts and, yes, even fake beards.

As loud as people booed Artest, they cheered Harden even louder.

Janssen added his voice to the chorus.

“It was so loud and so awesome,” he said.

Janssen has been a Harden fan since Day 1, and he admits it was the bushy beard that first caught his eye. That's because Janssen has always had facial hair of his own. Even back when he was in high school at Putnam City West, he was forever the guy growing a goatee or a mustache or a beard.

“The mustache was usually for jokes and giggles,” he said. “But I grew my goatee out pretty long.”

Whatever style he picks, Janssen has always been able to grow out his hair quickly. He doesn't have the patchy spots. He doesn't endure the scraggly bits. He's been blessed with fabulous facial follicles.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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BEARD MANIA

James Harden's beard has created a craze among Thunder fans. Here's a look at some of the fun:

The Song

A group of fans from Woodward decided to have a little fun and parodied Maroon 5's song “Moves Like Jagger.” The title? “Beard Like Harden.” If you haven't heard it, you might be one the last one in Oklahoma. Go to YouTube, search for “Beard Like Harden” and join the more than 100,000 people who've watched the video. (Yes, there's a video.)

The Fake Beards

Fake beards have popped up from time to time throughout the season, but they were everywhere during Game 1 against the Lakers. There was a fresh take on the fake beards, too — foam masks with Harden's silhouette.

The T-Shirts

“Fear The Beard” T-shirts have long been a staple around Oklahoma City, but there are some new looks that are pretty cool. One spotted at The Peake on Monday night had an outline of Harden's beard with the simple words “FEAR IT.” VivaLaBarba.com has a line with silhouettes of famous beards, and they recently added “The Harden.” But the funniest might be one from local outlet Tree & Leaf. Turn up the bottom of the shirt where a printed-on beard is on the underside, place the bottom hem just under your nose and, voila, you have a beard.

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