After NBA player James Harden's trade to Houston, “The Beard” shirts moved from fan favorite to the clearance rack.
The player, whose facial hair inspired outrageous displays of fandom, Facebook pages and, of course, countless T-shirts, left Oklahoma City on Sunday to play for the Rockets. The Thunder franchise brought in two new players — Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb — on the trade.
So, Harden tees are now half off.
“It's nostalgic, you could say. We had a great year,” said USA Screen Printing & Embroidery Co. general manager Lateria Allen. Items featuring Harden at the company's retail store at 3100 S Meridian Ave. were marked 50 percent off, including jerseys, T-shirts and a design that features Harden, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Store officials contacted Adidas to ensure they wouldn't receive any more Harden gear and ordered shirts for the new players, which should be available in a couple of weeks.
At the OKC Thunder team store inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena, staff was quick to update the wares. Harden shirts were off the shelves, and the store is readying to bring in gear for the new players, said Alan Fey, president of Gameday Merchandising, which operates the store and retail outlets for several other professional sports teams.
“It's been a very consistent practice,” Fey said. “That's just the business we're in.” Fans who want a jersey for Martin or Lamb can have one made on site even before shirts for the new players come in.
Fey said he'll work with the team and the Thunder Cares Foundation to see if there's a way the Harden shirts can be used to make a difference.
Tree And Leaf Clothing, an independent screen printer in Oklahoma City, had reduced the price of its beard shirts online as of Monday. When contacted by phone, co-owner Dustin Gilpin declined to participate in this story. But on Twitter, someone from the retailer's account jokingly tweeted “All ‘13EARD' shirts now on sale for 54 Million dollars!”