When you think about basketball and its players, you usually come up with the name of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and, you know, who people consider the usual in the sport.
However, other players who receive a bit (or a lot) less attention are also worth your time when you want to learn more about the sport or maybe dive into their lives to know if your basketball career is a reachable dream and profitable.
Well, for the last two mentioned, you can do it, and if you don’t believe us, just look at James Harden.
Considered a great player and one of the current stars, he is someone you can decide to look up to in skills, career, and when it comes to making money as a professional.
You aren’t that familiar with the name? Well, we’re here to solve that, so expect the details about this actual big name in the industry that is just a bit eclipse with the most popular ones (for now).
Who Is James Harden? – High School & College Years
It would be impolite of us to start the article without a proper introduction, so let’s keep our manners and begin with the simple yet crucial part.
Being his full name James Edward Harden Jr., he was born in Los Angeles on August 26, 1989.
His father, a former Navy seaman, James Sr., was often absent from his life since his service days. As a result, Harden was raised in an evangelical Christian home alone with his two siblings by their mom, Monja Willis, in Compton’s notorious neighborhood.
Previous to having James, his mother had several miscarriages before he was born.
There isn’t much information about James’ childhood as his early years were around his education and religious inclination (he remains a Christian today). However, he showed interest in basketball from a very young age, and James’ basketball skills were evident soon enough.
His skills led him to try the basketball team at Artesia High School. Despite Harden’s modest 6’1″ and asthma attacks when he tried out for the boys’ basketball team, he impressed his coaches.
With his development and growth in the team, Harden was the leader of Artesia to back-to-back state champions and was named a McDonald’s All-American for 2007.
Besides leading the team to the top, he played for an AAU team in 2006 that won Las Vegas Adidas Super 64 championship.
His high school years were quite impressive, and he never fell behind with his skills and game sense. After he graduated, he decided to attend Arizona State and play for the basketball team.
At the time, Harden became one of the most prominent recruits in Arizona State basketball’s history.
He greatly contributed to the team’s success and won in the upcoming matches and seasons, and is known for immediately turning around a program that had sunk to an 8-22 record between 2006-07.
Harden’s first season saw the Sun Devils improve to 21 wins. They then soared to 25 wins and a spot in the NCAA Tournament his third and last year.
He was named the Pac-10 Conference Player-of-the-Year and an All-American. His collegiate career ended ranked third in ASU’s records with an average of 19.0 points per game.
While finishing his sophomore season, he declared he was eligible for the 2009 NBA draft while also having a lot of exposure at the time, which contributed greatly to his start in the professional world.
He was featured in sports magazines and news around college and possible professional stars.
Professional Career: Continuing the Records?
After completing a successful career in college, James was more than ready to start his NBA debut and career.
The Oklahoma City Thunder selected Harden as the 3rd overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft.
Right after joining, Harden made sure to start his career right when he earned the All-Rookie Second Team honors.
He was an integral member of the 2011-12 team that featured star scorers Kevin Durant and Westbrook, two big names in today’s industry and sport.
He was awarded the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award. While having Harden in the time, the Thunder won the playoffs but lost five games to LeBron and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
Harden was also a member of the U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
His contract with the City Thunder came to an end after losing the NBA finals against LeBron. He was offered an extension of his contract yet declined.
As a result, the Thunder announced that they would trade Harden to the Rockets in October 2012.
The Thunder received Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and future draft picks in return. However, this trade didn’t seem like the best option due to how the Rockets handled the production of James.
But what happened to Harden inside the career when starting off with the Rockets?
Well, he is one of the most prominent players in the NBA since joining the team to the point of being awarded the first of six consecutive All-Star berths in the 2012-2013 season.
He also finished second in the voting to be the Most Valuable Player in 2015, 2017 and finally won the trophy in 2018.
Harden’s individual brilliance was not enough to propel the Rockets beyond the group of contenders his first two years.
Houston Rockets reached the Western Conference Finals 2015 but was beaten in round one of the playoffs in 2016. Harden saw another promising season come to an abrupt halt in round two the next year.
Paul brought his experience to the team, and Eric Gordon, the key role player, complemented Harden’s prime.
The Rockets won a record 65 games in 2017-18 before losing to the Golden State Warriors in a heartbreaking Western Conference Finals loss. Harden’s unstoppable scoring rescued Houston from an early hole, but it was again lost to the Warriors in the playoffs.
During the following years, several situations and misfortune took place for the player, especially since the suspension of the season 2019-2020 due to COVID-19.
Right now, in 2021, Harden was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a deal that involved the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers.
During the year, he has made history by becoming the first player in franchise history and the seventh in the NBA to log a triple-double debut performance, putting him even higher in popularity and talent.
Although some injuries came along the way, Harden continues to play for the team to this date and shows great performance and efficiency in his role in the team.
Achievements & Awards: James Harden’s Career Highlights
- NBA Most Valuable Player in 2018.
- Nine times NBA All-Star from 2013 to 2021.
- Six times All-NBA First Team (2014, 2015, and from 2017-2020).
- All-NBA Third Team in 2013.
- NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2012.
- Three times NBA scoring champion 2018–2020.
- NBA assists leader (2017).
- NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2010.
- Consensus first-team All-American in 2009.
- Pac-10 Player of the Year (2009).
- Two times First-team All-Pac-10 in 2008 and 2009.
Here, we didn’t include some of the mentions about his high school records and achievements, so you might be missing those when trying to go over the specific details or timeline.
Finally, we do have to add the Gold Medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games with the USA team and the Gold Medas for the 2014 Spain World Cup.
Inside Harden’s Bank Account
With his story done and knowing he is continuously performing in a team, how much is James Harden earning with the effort put into his career?
Following Forbes, James has a net worth set at $51 million, of which $33 comes from on-field earnings, while $18 million from off-field earnings.
However, this doesn’t answer the current question, where does his actual money come from in specific?
When he started his NBA career, he was earning about $14.5 million annually with the City Thunder.
After transferring to the Rockets, his salary increased to about $40 million. In 2017, when he signed a new contract and extension with the team, he became the richest NBA player in history since the extension with the Rockets was worth about $228 million.
Since the extension was set for four years, this increased his salary to $47 million.
This takes us to a few numbers, including his salary and endorsements. From 2016 to 2017, he earned about $47 million, and the same followed the next period (2017-2018) with his salary alone.
During 2018-2019 he earned about $45 million from some business ventures and finances.
By the end of his contract with the Rockets, we already mentioned he didn’t want to sign another extension, which would have earned him $103 million for only two seasons.
It was later known that once the Rockets’ contract came to an end, James was planning to look for a transfer to the Brooklyn Nets, his current team.
Currently, Harden is paid about $47 million in salary with the Nets and is one of the highest-paid basketball players.
But what about endorsements and other earnings?
In 2015, James got the opportunity to sign a contract with Adidas to leave Nike and join the rival company.
When signing the contract, he was paid about $15 million per year under the 13-year contract. However, the number has increased to $40 million per year.
Harden has also made money by appearing in State Farm Insurance commercials and joining specific brands for videos and ads.
Other numbers we have to consider are the real estate properties acquired by the basketball star.
He has invested about $15 million in his residences and made sure to include more as investments for future purposes.
Although Forbes sets his net worth at $51 million, it is that accurate as you can see, especially since the numbers were taken from 2020 and the list hasn’t been updated.
So, where does his net worth stand then? At $165 million considering his current contract, deals, and previous earnings, which means you can tell your friends, “Hey! James Harden has $165 million in his bank account.”
Moving to the Future
With James playing a great season so far, and his deal with the Nets, it’s clear his net worth isn’t going down anytime soon.
Instead, he is expected to earn quite the sum of money in the following years, especially an additional payment during the last season with the Nets, which is around 2022-23.
But what about him as a player? Will he keep up?
As long as James is capable of avoiding as many injuries as every athlete and focuses on continuous growth and nurturing his skills, why not reach the top?
Of course, before him, many players are stepping in and saying, “I’m the best.” However, it is always hard to come up with the idea of who is actually the master in the sport. After all, everyone has something unique.
When it comes to the rest of the deals like endorsements and sponsors, there aren’t specific details about other deals and contracts, but surely, he will be signing a couple while keeping up his records.
Besides, we doubt he would be satisfied with the millions in his account.
5 Savage Quotes by James Harden
- “If you have a dream, chase it no matter what it takes.”
- “This is a business, and everything happens for a reason. I’m going to just to play hard, try to play hard and do whatever it takes to win.”
- “I heard a lot of those things. I heard that I was greedy, that I didn’t care about winning; heard the questioning of my loyalty. And I’m thinking: ‘Of course I want to win. I’ve been winning my entire life.’
- “I took a back seat and did whatever it took for the team to win.”
- “Being in attack mode is something I try to bring into every single game, and that’s what’s making me be so successful.”
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