Houston Rockets

James Harden’s beard is a safety equipment

In case you didn’t know, James Harden’s beard protects against basketballs getting fired directly at his face.

James Harden has been in the NBA since 2009, and for most of his career, he’s been famous for having one of the biggest and thickest beards we’ve ever seen in professional sports. Heck, that’s why he’s earned the nickname “The Beard.”

Up until now, we’ve always wondered why Harden chooses to keep his beard so long and thick. Does he just like the way it looks? Does he like the way it feels? Is it an intimidation factor? There has to be some kind of method to the beard madness, right?

Well, on Wednesday night, the reason for the beard was finally revealed. It’s essentially a safety precaution, used to protect against something dangerous like Giannis Antetokounmpo flinging basketballs 100 miles per hour at his face.

The beard served its purpose during Wednesday’s game between Harden’s Houston Rockets and Giannis’ Milwaukee Bucks. Midway through the fourth quarter, Giannis tried to fire a pass to Malcolm Brogdon in the outside corner. The only thing was, he threw an absolute line drive, and Harden just happened to be caught right in the middle of the crossfire.

The ball drilled Harden in the face, knocking him down for a couple of second before he hopped right back up. He appeared to be caught a little off guard — understandably — but wasn’t hurt, thanks to the protection of the beard.

Next: What if the NBA’s best scorers all played like James Harden?

Obviously, Giannis wasn’t intending to nail Harden in the face. He was just trying to make a quick pass outside to his teammate, and well, sometimes these things just happen.

Harden was even able to laugh about it himself, saying that he only wished he would’ve seen it coming.

If you play basketball, odds are that sooner or later you’re going to get hit by the ball at some point. Luckily for Harden, he had already taken the proper precautions by growing out his massive beard years ago. Pretty good thinking, right?

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