James Harden Puts on for Houston at adidas Harden Vol 3 Launch

// lead image by adidas
// post photography by Gabe Oshin

Past or present, you won’t find many guys in the league or at the park that play like James Harden. In the future or better yet in Houston, though? Well, you might soon.

“I wear my Hardens every time I play,” says Denorrise Posey, the first fan in line to meet The Beard at Houston’s famous Galleria Mall for the official launch of the adidas Vol 3. “The kids these days do what they see. Everybody wants to shoot the three, step back, do the euro step. Harden’s been at the forefront of that. You can see the trickle-down in the city.”

As Space City’s youth looks to mimic Harden’s moves long before they can grow a beard, the man with the MVP trophy has been busy working with adidas to create the footwear he hopes will lead him to championship hardware.

The Harden Vol 3 sees a return to form in many ways to the successful Harden Vol 1, sharpened for speed and catered to the unique needs of his game. Lighter and leaner than the Harden Vol 2, the third signature for James continues the Boost lineage, playing closer to the ground than previous pairs and hugging the foot with little excess.

The model’s “Slow Down Fast” mantra walks its talk in both form and function, packing a protruding and uniquely square heel counter that’s designed to help Harden’s plant on his famed step-back.

So, how did the Harden Vol 3 happen to become so, well, Harden? The answer lies in the man himself and his hands-on approach to creating with the team at adidas.

“I don’t know how many guys are involved in every process of their line,” says Harden. “For me, it’s really me. I put the work in so that it’s authentic and real. And when you’re authentic and real that lasts longer than anything else. Not just in the shoe business but in life.”

For Harden, being authentic is being himself and that also means being different. The shoe described as ‘strikingly simple’ is definitely different in an era of flash over function but makes perfect sense for the game’s ultimate rule bender and most unorthodox innovator. Mixing Manu moves from overseas with Cali confidence, Harden has defenders shook and refs re-reading the rule books with his ability to create space by being more dangerous in reverse and creating contact through fancy footwork and Filayyy finishes.

For Houston, however, it’s more than just his time in the gym but more so his presence in the city.

“As a hooper, it’s obvious what he’s done for the game,” says Denorrise, the same fan who lined up first to meet the MVP at the Galleria. “Off the court, everything he’s done for the city from his charitable organizations to events like this, it’s really refreshing to see somebody pouring back in the city.”

Showing up to sign autographs, take pics and shoot hoops at the mall on a Thursday says much more than a pull quote. While fandom may range across the country and league officials may still be deciding the legality of his moves, one thing is for certain deep in the heart of Texas.

The city of Houston has already figured out who their guy is.

The adidas Harden Vol 3 and the MVP’s entire apparel range is available now at adidas.