• Brian L. Barefield

The Beard and The Brodie: Harden & Westbrook- Houston’s New Killer B’s

On my podcast, Sportz Talk with Big Sarge (available where ever you listen to podcast), I love singing the song, “Memory Lane,” by Minnie Riperton. I usually butcher the beginning of the song, but the lyrics are spot on for this article.

“I stumbled on this photograph, it kind of made me laugh It took me way back, back down memory lane.”

Regular listeners have heard me sing that song off-key for years, but it fits so well if you go back through the years of 1997 – 2005 in Major League Baseball. If you lived in the Houston and surrounding areas, the mere mention of the nickname “Killer B’s” will make your eyes light up like it was Christmas morning.

Before they were Hall of Famers, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell use to rip the roof off of the Astrodome or as some would call it, “The Eighth Wonder of The World.” The dynamic duo played for the Astros a combined 35 seasons with 7 Silver Slugger Awards and 11 Major League Baseball All-Star appearances. During that aforementioned nine-year-stretch they won 800 games and made it to the playoffs six times. In 2005 they won the NL pennant but came up short in the World Series against the Chicago White Sox. Ironically that was Bagwell’s last season and the end of the "Killer B’s."

Well, that was until Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and owner Tilman Fertitta decided to put together their own version of the "Killer B’s" for the upcoming basketball season.

The Rockets acquired Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook in a trade that sent future first ballot Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul to the Thunder along with two future first-round picks in 2024 and 2026 and OKC gained the rights to two first-round swaps with Houston in 2021 and 2025.

Westbrook who is nicknamed, “Brodie” will join James Harden who is often referred to as “The Beard to form one of the most dangerous backcourts in the NBA. The 2017 NBA MVP became the first person in NBA history to average a triple double (points, rebounds, assists) for three consecutive seasons. Along with Harden and Kevin Durant, Westbrook help lead the Thunder to the NBA Finals before losing to the LeBron James led Miami Heat. He leaves OKC as the leader in steals, rebounds, points, and assist.

The Brodie and Beard will reunite to wreak havoc on opposing coaches and backcourts. It's unfathomable to think that any two players at the guard positions can’t stop Harden (2018 NBA MVP) who averaged a career high 36.1 points per game last season and Westbrook who averaged 22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists per game. Some may think that there may not be enough basketball to go around, especially when you add in the likes of Clint Capela, P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers and Danuel House Jr., but that doesn’t bother the Beard.

Harden spoke with Fox 26 (KRIV) Sports Director Mark Berman on Friday and let it be known that the “Killer B’s II” would play well together.

“When you have talent like that, it works itself out,” said Harden. “You communicate, you go out there and compete, and possession by possession, you figure things out. Throughout the course of the season, you figure things out. That’s just what it is. When you have talent, you have guys with IQ, you have guys that are willing to sacrifice, it always works itself out.”

With the league being as wide open as it has ever been. Now is the time for Rockets fans to get excited about the potential this team has to win it all. This may sound a little premature, but someone might want to look into what an unofficial parade route would look like on Richmond in June 2020. I mean back in 1994-95 it was awesome.

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