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James Harden never dreamed he would grow up to be an Olympian one day—he just had dreams of playing basketball in the NBA. Harden grew up in Los Angeles, CA with his mother and two brothers. Wanting her son to avoid the crime and violence in their neighborhood, Harden’s mom sent him out of the neighborhood for schooling. It wasn’t long before Harden was playing basketball and averaging 13.2 points in a game. By his junior year, he was averaging 18.8 points per game.
After graduation, Harden played for Arizona State and finished his sophomore year with averages of 20 points per game. At the conclusion of the season, he declared for the 2009 draft and was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder. In 2012, he was traded to the Houston Rockets and was soon scoring 30 plus points per game.
BORN: August 26, 1989
HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, CA
HEIGHT: 6 ft 5 in
WEIGHT: 220 lb
COLLEGE: Arizona State University
OLYMPIC MEDALS: Gold Medalist in 2012
OTHER TITLES/NOTABLE WINS: 4× NBA All-Star (2013–2016), 2× All-NBA First Team (2014, 2015), All-NBA Third Team (2013), NBA Sixth Man of the Year (2012), NBA All-Rookie Second Team (2010)
FAVORITE COLOR: Black
FAVORITE KT TAPE APPLICATION: Shoulder
That same year, Harden was invited to join Team USA as a member of the 2012 Olympic basketball team in London. Harden’s team went undefeated 8-0 and captured the gold after defeating Spain. After winning the gold, coach Mike Krzyzewski said Harden “is the best player, he is the best leader and he is smart as anybody playing the game right now.”
While he was invited to play in the 2016 Olympic Games, Harden declined due to personal reasons. “I have been extremely blessed to wear the ‘red, white and blue’ and to compete at the highest level with the greatest players representing the greatest country in the world,” says Harden.
Although Harden will not be playing in Rio, he is sure to be cheering on his teammates to bring home the gold.