June 26 (UPI) — James “The Beard” Harden collected the 2018 NBA MVP Award and gave a speech with his mom on stage at the annual NBA Awards ceremony.
The Houston Rockets star collected the hardware on Monday night at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons edged Denver Nuggets rookie Donovan Mitchell for Rookie of the Year honors.
Harden beat LeBron James and Anthony Davis to claim his first MVP Award. The 2017-18 scoring champion posted 30.4 points per game this season, leading the Rockets to the best record in the NBA. The six-time All-Star joins former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in claiming the award.
“The Beard” walked up onto the stage with his mother, before taking the award from NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Harden wore a spotted suit with an oversized sport coat and sported sunglasses. Several of his Rockets teammates were in attendance, including point guard Chris Paul.
“Wow, all glory to God man,” Harden said. “Huge shout out to the NBA and all the legends that paved the way for me to be able to play this game like I do, like I love. Huge shootout to the Rockets …”
“Shout out to my family, my sister, my brother, my niece, my nephews and mom.”
“I’m not going to get emotional, I’m not doing all that, but she’s [mom] my backbone, good times, bad times. We only get one life and I’m happy she’s my mom. I wouldn’t have it no other way. For real. Sixth Man of the Year [in 2011-12] to the MVP.”
“Shout out to all the [young players]. They got a dream. There is a vision out there. Go chase that dream. I’ll see y’all next year!”
Former Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey won Coach of the Year. Jazz big man Rudy Gobert won Defensive Player of the Year. Los Angeles Clippers star Lou Williams won Sixth Man of the Year. Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo won Most Improved Player.