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James Harden: Why the Beard needs Oklahoma City as badly as OKC needs him

COMMENTARY — One more strategy for the Thunder in its bid to re-sign James Harden: Convince him he's better off visiting a party city than playing there. There's mounting evidence of that on the Internet.
by Jenni Carlson Published: August 21, 2012

Everyone thinks Oklahoma City needs James Harden.

Turns out, it might be the other way around.

Have you seen pictures from the All-White Yacht Party?

Apparently, The Beard hosted a party over the weekend, and from the look of things, it was quite the event. Everyone dressed in head-to-toe white, hung out on a yacht and, um, had a lot of fun.

If you believe what you read on Twitter, Diddy or Sean Combs or whatever he's calling himself these days even sent over some pricey cases of Ciroc vodka.

Nothing wrong with that.

In fact, my favorite picture is one of Harden surrounded by lovely women. He is shirtless and wearing white pants, a massive gold chain and a gold-and-black, tiger-print cowboy hat.

And here you thought Kobe Bryant had the corner on photos of shirtless NBA players.

I mean, Harden is looking more and more like Mr. T every day.

But seriously, if this is how The Beard parties now, what can we expect after he signs what everyone expects will be a massive contract? And if he happens to sign that deal with a team in Los Angeles or New York or some other hot spot?

The Beard may become a wild hair.

Oklahoma City can save Harden from himself.

Oh, sure, there are plenty of folks who think Harden will be the one helping OKC by staying in town, and there's no doubt that the Thunder is better with him than without him. The guard is a unique talent. He creates his own shot or creates for his teammates. He gets to the rim or drains the three. He makes already the great talents of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook even better.

I mean, who could forget KD, Russ and James standing arm in arm on the sidelines during Game 5 of the NBA Finals? The Thunder stars watched as a game, a series and a season ended with a crushing defeat, then they all professed that they'd make sure it never ended that way again.

Harden even said some things that make you believe he'd be willing to sacrifice some coin to stay in Oklahoma City.

“This is something special here,” he said a few days after that Finals loss. “A dynasty could be, is being built here. We're winning, we're having fun, and we're brothers.

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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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