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Best Beard in Sports Phoenix 2012 - Former ASU basketball player James Harden

Have you seen that thing?! It's getting so large that in post-game interviews, we expect TNT's Craig Sager to ask James Harden what the key to the game was — and then ask his beard. He started sporting facial hair that would've made the most hirsute Al-Qaeda thug jealous while still at Arizona State University.

Now that Harden's a star with the Oklahoma City Thunder, we're surprised opposing teams don't scream that the shooting guard's out-of-control facial shrubbery constitutes an unfair advantage — it is a virtual sixth man on the court. Imagine what it must be like for opponents to be blinded by that wild, black thicket as they go in for layup — literally tasting hairy defeat. This isn't a joke: His beard has its own Twitter account and Facebook page. Okay, there's something more manly about Harden than his beard — his game. He scored 40 points against our Suns last April. (Thanks a lot, homie!) The former Sun Devil was NBA sixth man of the year in 2012, a member of this summer's Olympic basketball team in London, and a major reason that the Thunder made it to the NBA finals. They didn't win; his Olympic teammate LeBron James and the Miami Heat did. OKC faithful blame Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) and "The Beard" for losing to the Heat. The Lakers' zany forward smacked Harden, concussing him. Harden recovered and played well afterward, but fans complain that his beard never never regained its past glory.
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