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Houston Rockets

How Houston Rockets superstar James Harden measures up to other legendary guards at 30-years-old

Since being drafted third overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009, James Harden's undeniable talent has taken him on one of the more unique career paths in NBA history. He's gone from Sixth Man of the Year in 2012 with the Thunder before a surprising trade to the Houston Rockets saw him become a perennial All-Star, MVP candidate and historic scorer.

The back-to-back scoring champ is now 30.

At this point in his career, there's no doubt that Harden has emerged as one of the best shooting guards to ever lace them up, but how far off is he from the best? To celebrate his 30th birthday, you can decide where Harden ranks in comparison to the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and others at the time of their 30th.

James Harden

At 30:

  • Two scoring titles (2018, 2019)
  • 2016-17 Assist title
  • Seven All-Star selections
  • Six-time All-NBA
  • 2011-12 Sixth Man of the Year
  • 2017-18 NBA MVP
  • Olympic Gold Medalist
James Harden at 30
G GS FG% 3P% RPG APG PPG PTS
Regular Season 765 552 .443 .365 5.2 6.2 24.3 18,627

At 30, a big season lies ahead for James Harden.

After a busy offseason resulted in a league-wide shift of power, the league is as wide open as it has been in years. With Russell Westbrook as Harden's new running mate, Houston now has two of the NBA's last three MVPs, meaning this team could reach new heights in the 2019-20 season.

MORE: What Westbrook's arrival means for Harden

The history of others would indicate that turning 30 means the best is yet to come.

Michael Jordan

At 30:

  • Six scoring titles (1987-92)
  • Two-time steals leader
  • Nine All-Star selections
  • Seven-time All-NBA
  • Five-time All-Defence
  • 1984-85 Rookie of the Year
  • 1987-88 Defensive Player of the Year
  • Three-time NBA MVP (1988, 1991, 1992)
  • Two-time NBA Champion (1991, 1992)
  • Two-time NBA Finals MVP
  • Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist
Michael Jordan at 30
G GS FG% 3P% RPG APG PPG PTS
Regular Season 638 627 .516 .296 6.4 5.9 32.3 20,589

Make no mistake, no one's touching what Jordan had accomplished by his 30th birthday.

Jordan, who turned 30 in Feb. of the 1992-93 season, would go on to win his third NBA title and Finals MVP four months later before announcing his (brief) retirement.

Once he returned, Jordan would go on to win three more titles, three Finals MVPs, three more scoring titles and two league MVPs. All after turning 30.

Who's better at 30?
Michael Jordan
James Harden
Online Survey Creator

Kobe Bryant

At 30:

  • Two scoring titles (2006, 2007)
  • 10 All-Star selections
  • 10-time All-NBA
  • Eight-time All-Defence
  • 2007-08 NBA MVP
  • Three-time NBA Champion (2000-02)
Kobe Bryant at 30
G GS FG% 3P% RPG APG PPG PTS
Regular Season 866 718 .453 .340 5.3 4.6 25.0 21,619

Kobe, who was 18 when he entered the league, was already a three-time NBA champion by 23.

Months before turning 30, Bryant would win the lone league MVP award before falling short in the 2008 NBA Finals.

The next season would see Kobe return with a vengeance, as he won the first of back-to-back championships and Finals MVP during his 30-year-old season. Bryant also earned five First Team All-NBA selections after his 30th birthday.

Who's better at 30?
Kobe Bryant
James Harden
Created with QuizMaker

Dwyane Wade

At 30:

  • 2008-09 Scoring title
  • Seven All-Star selections
  • Six-time All-NBA
  • 2006 NBA Champion
  • 2006 NBA Finals MVP
  • Olympic Gold Medalist
Dwyane Wade at 30
G GS FG% 3P% RPG APG PPG PTS
Regular Season 556 548 .484 .292 5.1 6.3 25.3 14,084

D. Wade turned 30 early in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 NBA season, a year where he would go on to average 22.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.

Months after his 30th birthday, Wade would win the first of two straight titles with LeBron James and Chris Bosh. He proved to be effective up until his retirement at 37, bowing out as the league's 29th all-time leading scorer (23,165 points) after averaging 15.0 points per game in his final season.

Who's better at 30?
Dwyane Wade
James Harden
Free Online Quiz Maker

Allen Iverson

At 30:

  • Four scoring titles
  • Three-time steals leader
  • Six All-Star selections
  • Six-time All-NBA
  • 1996-97 Rookie of the Year
  • 2000-01 NBA MVP
Allen Iverson at 30
G GS FG% 3P% RPG APG PPG PTS
Regular Season 610 606 .418 .309 4.1 6.0 27.4 16,738

AI, who won the lone MVP of his career at age 25, had already put forth a Hall-of-Fame-worthy career by the time he turned 30. Iverson's 29-year-old season saw him win the fourth and final scoring title of his career.

Unlike the others, turning 30 didn't signify as much of a positive shift for Iverson's career as his 30-year-old season was his last year as an All-NBA performer and his last full year in Philadelphia.

After 30, Iverson saw action with three different teams before returning to Philadelphia, where he would retire at 34.

Who's better at 30?
Allen Iverson
James Harden
Created with Quiz Maker Online

Jerry West

At 30:

  • Eight All-Star selections
  • Seven-time All-NBA
Jerry West at 30
G GS FG% 3P% RPG APG PPG PTS
Regular Season 551 - .468 - 6.7 5.5 27.7 15,255

Jerry West is one of the greatest examples of a player's best coming after 30.

The Logo, who turned 30 in 1968, became the first player to win Finals MVP in a loss after averaging 37.9 points, 7.4 assists and 4.7 rebounds in the 1969 NBA Finals. West would win the lone scoring title of his career in the very next season with an average of 31.2 points per game.

In the 1971-72 season, West won the lone assist title of his career with 9.7 assists per game as the Lakers won an NBA-record 33-straight games en route to a 69-13 record. That same year, West finally captured an NBA title, winning his lone championship weeks before turning 34.

Who's better at 30?
Jerry West
James Harden
Survey Creator

Ray Allen

At 30:

  • Five All-Star selections
  • Two-time All-NBA
Ray Allen at 30
G GS FG% 3P% RPG APG PPG PTS
Regular Season 657 653 .446 .397 4.7 3.9 20.6 13,545

One of the greatest shooters in league history, Ray Allen was fifth all-time when he turned 30 with 1,486 total made 3-pointers. Allen would eventually reach No. 1, draining nearly 1,500 3s over the final nine seasons of his career.

In addition to claiming the 3-point crown after age 30, Allen won an NBA title at 32 with the Boston Celtics and at 37 with the Miami Heat.

At 43, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Who's better at 30?
Ray Allen
James Harden
Created with QuizMaker

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