Jun 29, 2012, 11:39 AM EST
Bernard James is a guy you can root for. A guy I am rooting for.
And him going up to the stage may have been the best moment of the 2012 NBA Draft. The “U-S-A” chant gives me chills.
He got drafted into the NBA at age 27 by the Cavaliers (who traded him to the Dallas Mavericks as part of the Tyler Zeller deal). James didn’t play high school ball — he dropped out of high school at 16 and joined the Air Force at 17. He spent six years in the military and served three tours of duty overseas, in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar.
He talked about his experience with Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com, and what he saw over there will make you grow up fast.
“I worked at a detainment facility, guarding 22,000 detainees,” James said of his tour in Iraq. “[There were] suspected terrorists awaiting trial over there. It was rough. There were murders every day. We got mortar-attacked a couple times. One landed about 75 feet from me one time. That knocked me on my butt. It was definitely dangerous over there. Scary.”
James also went on a growth spurt while in the military and by the time he left to go to college after the Air Force he was the kind of big athlete (6’9″, 230) college programs are looking for. His offensive game is raw but he brings strong defense, shot blocking and a real work ethic and passion to his game.
We’ll have to see how his NBA career pans out. But I’m rooting for it to be both good and long.
- Report: Sixers agree to buyout with JaVale McGee; he can sign with contender 0
- Report: Sixers engaged in buyout talks with JaVale McGee 17
- Bulls’ Jimmy Butler leaves with elbow injury, does not return (VIDEO) 0
- Adam Silver says data may prove Gregg Popovich right in terms of resting multiple players 8
- Rockets general manager Daryl Morey proposes loosening NBA trade rules 6
- Derrick Rose starts rehab, in “good spirits” after knee surgery 11
- Russell Westbrook undergoes procedure to address cheek fracture, will be re-evaluated next week 6
- Russell Westbrook takes knee to face, it leaves dent (VIDEO) 15