James Harden: My whole freshman year of college, I didn’t have it. It didn’t start growing until maybe the summer going into my sophomore year. It was growing everywhere. And I didn’t feel like shaving. There were times throughout the season where I had to cut it because coach said it was getting too long, but ... it’s my new look.
JC: Some people go to school and gain "The Freshman 15,” but you went to school and gained ...
JH: "The Freshman Beard.” (Laughs.) I love it, too. I get a lot of compliments. A few people say I look like Abraham Lincoln, especially when it’s a lot bigger.
JC: So, have you had it long, Rip Van Winkle style?
JH: No, no, no. I won’t go that far.
JC: Put on a pair of suspenders, and you’d look Amish.
JH: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I don’t know about that. (Laughs.)
JC: What does your mom think about your newfound facial hair?
JH: To be honest, she wants me to cut it, but she doesn’t pressure me. I have my barber, and when he goes to cut it, she’ll be like, "Cut it off” or "Notch it a little bit, so you have to cut it.”
JC: She’s trying to sabotage your beard.
JH: I’m not going to cut it, though. Not any time sooner.
JC: There aren’t a lot of bearded NBA players.
JH: Baron Davis was. I can’t really think of any more.
JC: Maybe you’re establishing a trend.
JH: Maybe a news style. The Birdman, Chris Andersen, has his crazy hair and tattoos everywhere, so that’s a new trend.