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James Harden may not be the best teammate in the world, and he may not ever win an NBA title, but boy could he drop the dime of his opponents and rack up some sick video-game-like stats.
James Harden Rookie Year Stats: 76 games | 9.9 PPG | 3.2 TRB | 1.8 AST | 1.1 STL (not too shabby for a young buck but no one could see the scoring phenom that was to come based on those stats).
Harden only spent three seasons with OKC before a contract dispute led them to trade him to Houston. It was with Houston that Harden really exploded onto the scene as a superstar.
After 8.5 seasons with Houston, Harden was traded to Brooklyn, teaming up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Unfortunately, injuries and off-court antics from Irving stopped the team from gelling properly.
Harden then got sent to Philly in a trade that sent Ben Simmons back to Brooklyn. It’s yet to be seen whether Harden is finally able to get his championship in Philly.
James Harden rookie cards have benefited from his shoot-first mentality but they have also been hampered by this mentality… it’s hard to imagine him winning an NBA championship playing like this… but stranger things have happened.
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We do enjoy watching him drop dimes on his opponents like he’s on NBA Jam on fire mode! Plus looking at the crazy stat line the next day is equally enjoyable, especially when he’s on your fantasy team.
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And who knows, if he changes up his style just to fit a narrative he may lose everything that made him who he is today. Bottom line, be you James, and keep chucking up that rock!
Best James Harden Rookie Cards
Now let’s take a look at some of the top James Harden rookie cards in the hobby! Woot woot!
2009 James Harden Topps RC #319
The 2009 James Harden Topps rookie card features a close-up of Harden with a stone-cold blank stare on his face that seems to say “I’m about to drop dimes on your ass”.
Numbered #319 the card is no-frills and lacks any kind of excitement… but that in of itself makes it unique and a must have for harden fan boys
The reverse of the card partially reads “James was not labeled a great pure athlete at Artesia High School, but he made himself into a player good enough to produce a pair of California State Titles.”
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The 2009 Topps James Harden rookie card is a great middle-of-the-road card for collectors/investors with medium size bankrolls.
2009 Topps NBA Parallels: Black, Gold, and Printing Plates
2009 Topps Chrome Parallels: Super-Fractor, Gold, Refractor, and Chrome
2009 James Harden National Treasures Rookie Patch/Auto /99 #203
Beep… beep… beep… back the money truck up on this bad mama JAMA. The 2009 James Harden National Treasures RPA is going to cost some major dollars (and we’re talking Benjamin Franklins).
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Numbered #203 the card features Harden in his away OK City Thunder uniform while holding the rock in both hands with a sheepish look on his face that seems to ponder “when is this going to be over with…”.
The reverse of the card reads “After being named the 2008-09 Pac 10 player of the year at Arizona St. Harden took his scoring skills to the NBA level. He stormed to a fast start racking up 25 points, 4 steals, and four boards in a 127 – 108 win against the Wizards.”
This card is loaded for bear and is a fine specimen for high-end collectors.
2009 James Harden Exquisite Collection Autograph Rookie Card #74 #45
No your not seeing double… here we have the 2009 James Harden Exquisite Collection Autograph Rookie Card #74 & #45.
They are super similar cards with the only real difference being the photo… #74 shows Mr. Harden jogging down the court while looking to his right while #45 shows Harden doing the same by looking to his right.
The James Harden Exquisite Collection rookie card is a good option for autograph hunters who don’t want to pay the extra dollars associated with a patch.
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Both cards feature a photo of James at the top of the card with his signature underneath (centered) with the Upper Deck Logo towards the bottom… the only complaint we have is the photo of Harden is pretty boring as it simply shows him jogging back to get back on defense… yawn.
James Harden Rookie Card Checklist
- 2009 Topps Chrome RC #319
- 2009 Topps Rookie #319
- 2009 Exquisite Collection Autograph Rookie Card #74
- 2009 Contenders Rookie Ticket #103
- 2009 Donruss Elite Autograph #163
- 2009 Limited Autographed Jersey #153
- 2009 Panini Certified #173 Autographed Jersey #173
- 2009 Panini Crown Royale Autograph #104
- 2009 Bowman 48 #10
- 2009 Panini Adrenalyn XL #119
- 2009 Greats of the Game #36
- 2009 Panini #303
- 2009 Panini Prestige #153
- 2009 Studio #135
- 2009 Topps #319
- 2009 James Harden Rookie Card Upper Deck #227
- 2009 James Harden Rookie Card Deck First Edition #188
- 2009 Panini Certified #173 Autographed Jersey #/399
- 2009 Panini Crown Royale #104 Autograph #/599
- 2009 Court Kings Autograph #145
- 2009 Panini Threads Autograph #103
- 2009 SP Game Used #118
- 2009 Topps Chrome #99
- 2009 Absolute Memorabilia #146 Autographed Jersey #/499
- 2009 Classics #163 Autograph #/499
- 2009 Donruss Elite #163 Autograph #/479
- 2009 Limited #153 Autographed Jersey #/299
- 2009 Panini Timeless Treasures #103 Autograph #/299
- 2009 Playoff National Treasures #203 Autographed Patch #/99
- 2009 Rookies & Stars #133 Autograph #/449
- 2009 Upper Deck Exquisite #45 Autograph #/225
Harden Rookie Card Value
The most expensive James Harden rookie card is the 2009-10 National Treasures James Harden RPA RC /99 (sold for $50,101 on 12/1/2020 via eBay auctions).
Harden’s rookie card should steadily rise over the next few years and then encounter a slight dip once he enters the twilight of his career and his freakish scoring numbers drop.
Unfortunately, Harden’s numbers have been on the decline since he left Houston. With Brooklyn he still put up solid numbers, averaging 24.6 and 22.5 points in his two seasons.
The drop was understandable because he was now playing second fiddle to Kevin Durant. He made up for this as a great facilitator.
However, his play has declined since his arrival in Philadelphia. He played well at first, but after the first 5-10 games, his play declined. His numbers are still solid, but they are not at superstar levels anymore.
We will have to wait and see if Harden can get back to form, but right now it looks like he’s on the decline.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like us to provide an estimated value of any Harden rookie cards.
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Thinking about buying a James Harden RC but would like a second opinion? Hit us up at email@example.com with the link to the card you’re thinking about buying.
Harden Rookie Card: Buyers Guide and Investment Outlook
As we mentioned Harden puts up amazing video game-like numbers on a nightly basis as he averaged a mind-blowing 36.1 points per game during the 2018 NBA regular season campaign.
Scoring has never been an issue for Harden… being a team player on the other hand… well that’s another story.
It would be great for the value of James Harden rookie cards if he could somehow merge his insane ability to score with the ability to make everyone around him better ala LeBron James ala Michael Jordan… sadly we just don’t see that happening.
Additionally, a championship would certainly bolster the value of his rookie cards. He has a chance to do it now that he’s partnered up with Joel Embiid in Philadelphia, but it is going to be a tough road.
Harden rookie cards are still a decent investment and should not be overlooked. If you already have one of his cards, you can sell it for a solid profit at any time.
However, we would encourage you to sell sooner rather than later because it is unlikely that Harden gets better at this stage of his career.
Investment Rating: Buy (3.5 out of 5)
Ownership Disclosure: None
Best James Harden Rookie Card: 2009 Topps Chrome Refractor #319