A good, well-maintained beard is hard to find in the NBA these days, as very few players are dedicated to growing full facial hair. Back in the 70′s, a luscious beard was a badge of well-groomed honor. Now, some players could be mistaken for vagrants or Jay Electronica with their lack of manscaping. And while there is one player — Baron Davis — who’s made his beard not just an accessory but his brand, there’s a new beard on the block that is challenging Boom’s scruffy supremacy.

At only twenty-one and in his second year in the league, James Harden’s grown man beard has quickly become his calling card. When the Oklahoma City Thunder came through Toronto, I asked him what it means to dethrone another Los Angeles guy for the honor of the NBA’s most valuable beard, as well as a few questions about his own rigorous grooming routine.

Oh, and for the record, Harden is certain his beard would beat Baron’s beard in a fight. Bring it on.