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James Harden was born in Los Angeles, California on August 26, 1989. He attended Artesia High School in Lakewood. During his junior year, he led Artesia to the California state championship with a 33-1 record and overall statistics of 18.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. Artesia repeated their streak and won the state championship for a second time in James Harden's senior year. His stats were similar to his junior year. After his senior year, James Harden was named a McDonald’s All-American and was named to the Parade All-American second team.
James Harden elected to attend Arizona State. During his freshman year, Arizona State was nominated to finish 9th in the Pac-10 Conference, but with the help of James Harden, the Sun Devils tied for 5th place in the Pac-10 and went 21-31 overall for the 2007 season. After James Harden's freshman year, he was named All-Pac-10 first team and was also named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team.
During his sophomore year, James Harden appeared on numerous pre-season All-American lists and was on the watch list for the Wooden Award. In November 2008, he scored a 40 points for a career-high over the University of Texas at El Paso. James Harden finished the season with 20.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists on average per game. Following the season, he was named the Pac-10 Conference’s Player of the Year and a consensus All-American.
After the conclusion of his sophomore year, James Harden opted to enter the 2009 NBA Draft. He was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder as the 3rd overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He was the first player drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder, as the franchise entered the 2008 draft as the Seattle SuperSonics.
In his first season, James Harden averaged 9.9 points per game in 22.9 minutes. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie second team. During his second year in the NBA, James Harden played all 82 regular season games and averaged 12.2 points per game. During the playoffs, he shot over 47% from the field and averaged 13 points per game. In April 2012, James Harden suffered a concussion after being elbowed by Metta World Peace of the Los Angeles Lakers. However, James Harden was able to return in the first game of the playoffs and helped the Thunder reach the NBA Finals.
At the end of the 2011-2012 season, James Harden led all NBA reserves by averaging 16.8 points per game. He was subsequently the youngest player ever to be named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year. During the off-season, Oklahoma City endeavored to sign James Harden to another 4-year contract extension that was worth between $52 and $55 million, but the negotiations failed.
As a result, James Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets, where the Rockets’ general manager considered him a foundational player for the team. In October 2012, James Harden signed a subsequent $80 million contract extension for 5 years. He was named the Western Conference player of the week for the games between December and early January as he led the Rockets to a 4-0 week and averaged 29.3 points and 5.5 assists. He completed the season with career highs in many categories and led the Rockets to a 45-37 overall record. In May 2013, he was named to the All-NBA third team.
After a successful 2013-2014 season, James Harden was named to the 2014 All-NBA first team. During the 2014-2015 season, he completed a career-high with 8 made three-pointers, while he scored 36 points in the game to lead the Rockets to a 102-83 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
However, James Harden was suspended for one game in March 2015 for an altercation involving LeBron James. James Harden quickly rebounded back and completed his first playoff career triple-double in a Game 5 win against the Los Angeles Clippers. As of July 2015, James Harden was named the National Basketball Players Association’s MVP for the 2014-2015 season.
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