For my money, Bob Dylan is the coolest man who ever lived.
Not only is Dylan a master wordsmith, out-of-the-box activist, rock-and-roll legend and song-writing king, but the way he handled the press during his mid-60’s was absolutely fantastic to look back on (and considering the fact that I’m only 24, all I can do is listen to his records and read about his life).
With my two biggest passions being music and the NBA, and with the sure-fire coolest man in music being Dylan, the question of who’s the coolest man in the NBA is next in line.
Historically, my starters for the Miles David All-Stars (an imaginary expansion franchise that spans generations) would be Pete Maravich, David Thompson, George Gervin, Julius Erving and Robert Horry (this team would average 165 points a game and give up 155).
To me, when dealing with coolness as it pertains to NBA players, there are a few things you have to take into consideration. Obviously, the way the guy plays is of the utmost importance, but that isn’t simply about production. Yes, being great helps, but it doesn’t guarantee you anything.
Guys who are original offensive prototypes are usually cool, especially if they sprinkle some flash on their originality. Also, having a big-time finesse component to your game is big in my book, as nothing is cooler than watching a professional basketball player and thinking “man, this guy probably has some moves on the dance floor.”
Physical appearance also plays a big part in determining coolness. I love Clyde Drexler and the way he played would definitely be defined as cool, but male-pattern baldness isn’t cool (sorry, Clyde). An original look is also a plus, especially if the look somehow coincides with the way the guy plays.
So, who’s the coolest man in the league? Could it be LeBron James? Nope, not good enough in clutch situations and not graceful enough. Could it be Kevin Durant? Nope, he just doesn’t have the look. Is it Dwight Howard? Just kidding. What about Chris Paul? Now we’re getting closer; he’s second on my list (little guy with a big attitude, a diverse skill set and the look of a movie star).
To me, the coolest man in the league is James Harden. Harden’s biggest area of concern is his defense. Why does his defense not factor into my decision? Because defense just isn’t cool (that’s why the Tony Allen fan club has four members). If you’re saying to yourself, “self, I don’t know if I agree with this whole defense isn’t cool thing,” then answer me this: Who would you rather watch, Steve Nash’s top-tier Phoenix Suns teams or those Chauncey Billups-led Detroit Pistons teams?
If you said the Pistons team you’re either from Detroit or you’re lying.
So what is it that makes Harden so cool? First of all, there’s the beard and the hairdo. He looks like the kind of guy who jams out to soul music and vibes to R&B late at night. When you match his look to his game, it all comes together.
Harden is a combination of Manu Ginobili and Paul Pierce on the court, mixing European finesse moves with an American street-ball savvy. Harden uses the Euro-step better than anyone not-named Manu, and his ability to expose the ball and finish through contact is second to none in today’s NBA.
Also, the fact that Harden doesn’t have elite length, quickness or athleticism makes his dominance all the more impressive. The Beard always looks composed on the court, which is definitely a cool characteristic as he seemingly glides up and down the floor with ease.
Obviously, coolness is objective and there’s no way that the average fan can agree on who the league’s coolest player is, but that’s the beauty of it. Everyone has a different take on what and who are cool. I’ve seen so many fans inside of the Houston Rockets‘ community absolutely trash Harden in favor of Jeremy Lin; a view I can’t see eye to eye with, but is certainly agreed upon by many (Lin is like a cult classic of sorts among fans).
That being said, for my money, no one is cooler than The Beard (although I’ve got to say that CP3 and Stephen Curry are pretty darn close)