Home » James Harden: From NBA MVP to Serial High-Profile Investor

James Harden: From NBA MVP to Serial High-Profile Investor

A look into the various business ventures of NBA MVP James Harden

by Victor Adetimilehin

James Harden has built a legacy that transcends the hardwood floors of the National Basketball Association (NBA), beyond the sparkles of the spotlight ant the roar of the crowd. Born in the sunny paths of Los Angeles, California, Harden’s journey from the energetic courts of Compton to the zenith of basketball immortality is a testament to the mix of raw talent and unyielding perseverance. As a maestro of the three-point ballet, Harden not only redefined the shape of the basketball trajectory but also embedded his name among the assembly of greats, clinching the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 2018 alongside winning three scoring titles and two assist titles, becoming the first player in NBA history to achieve this feat.

From the echoes of Artesia High School’s back-to-back state championships to the electric passion of Arizona State Sun Devils’ arena, Harden’s collegiate exploits kick started the beginning of an influential and impactful career. Drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder as the third overall pick, he flourished from the Sixth Man of the Year to a symbol of excellence, his beard as iconic as his step-back three-pointer—a maneuver that has completely changed the landscape of the game. As the seasons unfold, from the gold-laden triumphs with the U.S. Olympic team to the strategic movements across teams in search of championship glory, Harden’s journey embodies the essence of basketball itself: a dance of passion, precision, and the constant chase for the apex of achievement.


James Harden, in collaboration with Adidas, has birthed The Harden Collection, a signature line that expresses his abilities and style. His collaboration with Adidas began in 2015, when Harden signed a 13-year contract with the German company for up to $200 million, which resulted in 40% rise in Adidas’ stock just one year after signing Harden. This venture showcases his investment in bridging the gap between athletic performance and high fashion. The collection, enriched by his partnership with Yohji Yamamoto for the Y-3 capsule, underlines Harden’s vision of sportswear as a platform for fashion-forward expression, blending the rhythm of the court with the poise of the runway.


James Harden has strategically invested in Overtime, a media company that revolutionizes how basketball is consumed, taking advantage of the widespread reach of social media. This platform, reflecting Harden’s investment, transforms spectators into an engaged community, interlacing the excitement of sports with interactive digital experiences.


Art of Sport, a skincare line co-founded by late NBA Legend Kobe Bryant, has benefited from James Harden’s investment and partnership. This partnership led to the release of Harden’s first signature fragrance, Defy, in 2022, which was inspired by his journey as an athlete and the desire to create a special ode to the Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant.


With James Harden’s investment, Throne has redefined the essence of luxury, offering on-demand services that cater to the exquisite tastes of its users. This app embodies Harden’s vision for a future where convenience meets exclusivity, creating personalized experiences with the simplicity of a tap.


James Harden’s investment in Hustle brings to the forefront a sports analytics company that marries AI with athletic performance optimization. This venture underscores Harden’s commitment to innovation, providing coaches and athletes with tools to refine their strategies and skills. Hustle, fueled by Harden’s foresight, transforms raw data into actionable insights, embodying his drive to push the boundaries of what athletes can achieve through technology.


Thirteen, owned by James Harden, stands as a source of inspiration for culinary excellence in the heart of Midtown Houston. This upscale dining establishment reflects Harden’s passion for the art of fine dining, offering an experience that transcends the ordinary. Chef Siddartha Cadena an award-winning chef and culinary virtuoso is the Executive Chef at Thirteen contributing over 22 years of culinary expertise and influences from across the globe to create an innovative and eclectic dining experience in the heart of Midtown Houston. Through Thirteen, Harden invites customers into a world where each dish tells a story, blending exquisite flavors with an ambiance of sophistication, making every visit a celebration of gastronomic craftsmanship.


James Harden, through his equity stake in Bodyarmor, an American sports drink brand, amounting to $60 million, played a pivotal role in the brand’s journey, resulting in a significant payout when Coca-Cola acquired the company. This investment highlights Harden’s strategic foresight in aligning with innovative brands at the intersection of sports and wellness, earning him a 4000% return on investment as at 2023, despite the company’s drop in sales.


The Houston Dynamo stands as a beacon of athletic prowess and community spirit within Major League Soccer (MLS), highlighted further by James Harden’s strategic investment of $15 million for a 5% minority stake in the football club. This engagement underscores Harden’s dedication to the fabric of Houston’s sports culture, spotlighting soccer as a powerful uniting force. His investment breathes life into the Dynamo, bolstering the team’s mission to achieve excellence on the field while fostering a sense of unity and pride off it.


By investing in the Houston Dash of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), James Harden has championed the advancement and visibility of women’s professional soccer. This investment highlights Harden’s commitment to equality in sports and his belief in the power of soccer to inspire and unite. The Dash, under Harden’s backing, becomes more than a team; it is a symbol of progress, representing the city’s dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive sporting environment. Harden’s backing of the Dash amplifies the team’s impact, making it a pillar of strength and a source of inspiration for aspiring athletes and the broader Houston community.


Therabody, known for its innovative percussive therapy devices, benefits from James Harden’s investment, reflecting his commitment to health and athletic performance. This involvement signifies Harden’s understanding of the importance of recovery and wellness in an athlete’s routine, bringing cutting-edge technology to the forefront of sports medicine and personal care. Through Therabody, Harden extends his impact from the basketball court to the wellness industry, advocating for advanced solutions in muscle recovery and physical therapy.


At Stance, a sock, underwear and T-Shirt brand, James Harden transcends the role of an investor, serving as an ambassador for Stance Socks involved in the promoting and representing their products, including a signature line of socks and underwear. Harden’s duties as ambassador is mainly focused on being an important face for the brand, particularly through the “Punks & Poets” ambassador platform which includes various athletes and cultural influencers. His involvement with Stance speaks to his deep involvement and influence in the fashion industry. This partnership illuminates Harden’s flair for unique and expressive style, particularly in transforming socks into a statement of individuality and performance. Stance has redefined socks from mere necessities to fashion statements, mirroring Harden’s own distinctive style and his desire to impact fashion trends actively.


James Harden’s investment in Pura brings his ventures into the smart home technology sphere, specifically in the realm of home fragrances. Pura’s device allows users to control home fragrances through their smartphones, offering a blend of convenience and luxury. Harden’s involvement highlights his interest in innovative technology that enhances the living experience, aligning with modern trends of smart homes. Through Pura, Harden demonstrates his vision for integrating technology with everyday life, ensuring homes can be personalized sanctuaries of comfort and style.


Tapping into the flourishing world of men’s grooming, James Harden’s investment in The Beard Club testifies to his entrepreneurial spirit and a keen eye for niche markets. This venture not only mirrors his iconic status as ‘The Beard’ on the basketball court but also extends to the realm of personal style, where his beard stands as a hallmark of his identity. By championing the art of beard maintenance and style, Harden brings to market products designed to meet the grooming needs of the modern man through The Beard Club. Thus, his involvement not only progresses the brand but also shows his dedication to quality and self-expression, securing his influence well beyond the realm of sports and into the everyday lives of men globally.


James Harden is an investor in Whop, a platform designed to facilitate the discovery, purchase, and management of software products and services, with a particular focus on digital goods and subscriptions. It aims to streamline the process for both creators and consumers, offering a marketplace that simplifies transactions and access to digital products. Harden was part of the investors who invested $17 million in a Series A funding round led by Insight Partners for Whop. Currently valued at $300 million, suggesting a significant level of investor confidence and financial backing, Whop is aimed at creating a marketplace for selling expertise aligns with the growing trend of the gig economy and digital services.


James Harden, along 20 other investors who invested $10 million in a Series A funding, placed an investment in Workstream, a company dedicated to revolutionizing the hiring landscape with its text-based platform designed specifically for organising the recruitment of hourly workers. Today, Workstream is the leading HR, Payroll, and Hiring platform for the hourly workforce and about 46 of the top 50 quick-service restaurant brands, including Burger King, Jimmy John’s, Taco Bell, rely on Workstream to hire, retain, and pay their teams


James Harden has chosen to include Jackpot, an innovative online lottery ticket platform, in his investment portfolio, aligning with the company’s mission to modernize the traditional lottery experience through digital solutions.


James Harden’s association with a historic brand like Mitchell & Ness, known for its classic sports apparel and nostalgia-driven products, highlights his appreciation for sports heritage and fashion. By investing in or collaborating with Mitchell & Ness alongside top NBA Stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, Harden bridges the gap between vintage athletic aesthetics and contemporary style, charging the brand with his distinct sense of fashion. This partnership enriches Mitchell & Ness’s offerings with Harden’s influence, blending the authenticity of sports history with modern-day trends.


James Harden’s investment in Saks was highlighted when he was appointed as an independent member of its board following a minority investment in the company. This move was announced in June 2021, signaling Harden’s expansion into the luxury retail sector. His involvement with Saks aligns with his interests in fashion and retail, bringing a unique perspective as both a consumer brand investor and a notable fashion enthusiast.

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