Born in Los Angeles, California James Harden attended Artesia High School in Lakewood, CA.
He took his hoops skills to Arizona State University where he earned All America honors and the PAC-10 Player of the Year Award as a Sun Devil.
He was drafted third overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
After an NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award and an NBA Finals appearance while teaming up with all-time greats Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the “what if” scenario will never end as he was traded to the Houston Rockets after failing to agree on a max contract in OKC.
The move to Houston helped Harden flourish into one of the greatest scorers the league has ever seen. The Beard, The Crossover, The Step Back, the talented scorer was doing things the league had never seen before. Harden’s 36.1 per game average and countless huge scoring performances in H-Town cemented his legacy in NBA history. Harden captured an MVP award and three straight scoring titles while suiting up in the red and white. Showing there’s more to his game than putting the ball in the hole, he also won two league assist titles during his Hall of Fame career.
Named one of the NBA’s 75 greatest players of all time, Harden has bounced around a bit from the Nets to the Sixers and is in the process of potentially requesting a trade out of The City of Brotherly Love.
The ten-time All Star will most assuredly pass the 25,000 career point mark this coming season. With over 7,000 assists and nearly 6,000 rebounds to his credit, the man who has posted over 70 career triple doubles is truly one of the best all around players of the era.
In this edition of Better Than a Box, we will be pitting The Beard up against a new box of the new 2022-23 Select Basketball in its H2 form.
Featuring six cards per pack and only packs per box, this is a pretty thin product for right around $280. Of course, you can look for Disco Prizms, jerseys and autographs, but with only a few cards and the box, I wish you all the best.
We are going to jack up four great Harden cards in place of your air filled Select box.
The Rookie Card
Our rookie card of choice comes from the iconic and flagship Topps basketball brand. We offer up a PSA 9 version of Harden’s classic base rookie card from a time when Topps still had an NBA license. This was the final season for the iconic brand on the hardwood (so far) and it draws special interest and nostalgia for collectors for a multitude of reasons.
Aside from having a stacked rookie class and some scarcity to boot (just over 1,000 Harden rookies have been graded a PSA 9 and barely 200 as PSA 10s). It’s a steal at the going rate of $50-$60. The Topps rookie cards are not the most visually appealing ever, as many are mugshots, extreme close ups, and airbrushed college unis but the iconic class and superstars found make up for the lack of logos. This is a great start to your Harden Haul.
The Autograph Card
The autograph of choice comes from the 2010-11 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Autographs set. To snag a James Harden autograph card from a super high end second year product that is numbered to 99 is the highlight of our Harden collection. He’s pictured, sans beard, raising up ready to release his instantly recognizable lefty jumper in his maroon ASU uniform. For less than $140, this is our scoring champion.
The Jersey Card
The jersey card for a collection comes from another high end product, this time, the 2015-16 Immaculate line. We would be shooting an air ball if we didn’t feature at least one card of Harden in his Houston Rockets red. This is a sexy high-end, low cost product piece as it shows him getting ready to finish at the rim. This jumbo jersey piece is a nice reminder of his record setting time in Houston.
The Parallel Card
The final card in our collection is a parallel from the Prizm Monopoly product from this past season. People were acting like it was the pandemic again, scouring retail spots for this Prizm board game spin-off.
While the buzz subsided, some nice cards have been left in its wake. We chose the sleek, black Monopoly icon parallel to commemorate how Harden has monopolized the scoring sheet over the course of his Hall of Fame career. Philly represent. This one is an easy score at less than $5–sometimes only a buck or two.
And that’s another great four card collection foundation you can own in place of a newly release box full of who knows what. But as always, the choice is yours.