"I decided to go to ASU, do my own thing and it was all work from there. That was the beginning of who I am as a man. I could've left school after my freshman year, but I felt like I wasn't mature yet and had more growing up to do. Arizona State helped me, and I got to show my love and how much they mean to me." -- James Harden
As some of you may know, I am a fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
I can vividly remember a time shortly before the 2009 NBA Draft and the editor emeritus (Kenny Masenda) and I were having a conversation about who OKC should draft. At the time, I remember proclaiming that Tyreke Evans was the obvious choice for the Thunder (good grief it's best that I'm not a general manager) while Kenny kept telling me about this dude named James Harden. Admittedly, I hadn't seen too much of the dude who wore #13 for the Sun Devils. I was a victim of East Coast Bias, not paying attention to NCAA basketball lines at Skybook and the fall-off of West Coast hoops in college basketball during the aughts. So I wasn't all that keen on what Harden could possibly be in The Association.
In three seasons with the Thunder, he helped form arguably the most electrifying trio of talent to ever be assembled. In nearly five seasons afterwards with the Houston Rockets, he formed himself into arguably the best player in the NBA.
If only I'd paid more attention to Young Harden nearly a decade earlier.
During his two seasons in Tempe, Harden left a legacy that cemented him as one of the most-decorated players in Arizona State history, averaging 19 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. To celebrate Harden's evolution in Tempe, where his No. 13 jersey now hangs from the rafters, Adidas introduced the Harden Vol. 1 Fear the Fork edition.Array
The Harden Vol. 1 Fear the Fork edition is designed with a black knit upper and gold across the toe, laces, three stripes and Harden Mark to reflect the desert sun and pay tribute to the gold in ASU's uniforms. Fear the Fork ($140) drops March 4 at adidas.com. Follow the conversation @adidashoops on Twitter and Instagram with #HardenVol1.
Thoughts on the colorway? Let us know in the comment section.
Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”