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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

/articleid/3675794/1/pictures/1721319">Photo - Billy Janssen poses for a photo at his home in Bethany, Okla., Tuesday, May 15, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Billy Janssen poses for a photo at his home in Bethany, Okla., Tuesday, May 15, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Friends always joke that he needs to shave.

“Man,” they say, “you'll grow it back in two days.”

It doesn't happen that fast, but Janssen can usually have a full beard in a week's time pretty easily.

Last October, he decided to put his hair-growing ability to use for Halloween.

His plan?

Grow out his beard and dress up like James Harden.

The getup, complete with jersey, shorts and shoes, was a hit. Janssen liked it so much that he decided to keep the beard.

Part of it was because of the look, but part of it was because of how much of a Harden fan he's become. Even though The Beard enticed him, The Player sold him. Janssen loves the way Harden shoots and drives and does so many different things for the Thunder.

Recently, he decided to take his love of Harden a step further. For the playoffs, he added a Hardenesque fauxhawk to his look.

He overheard a couple little girls in the crowd talking about him during Game 1.

“Oh, my gosh,” they exclaimed. “He looks like James Harden.”

He chuckled.

“Every time ... I've been to a Thunder game, I had a bunch of people take pictures of me,” he said. “A lot of people have said I look like James Harden ... except for being white.”

All the beards, whether real or fake, have not gone unnoticed by Harden.

“It's pretty funny,” he said. “It definitely makes me proud.”

Fear the Beard?

Nah, around here, Thunder fans prefer to Follow the Beard instead.

by Jenni Carlson
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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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.” 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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