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Cavaliers draft Bernard James, “ U-S-A” chant breaks out

Jun 29, 2012, 11:39 AM EDT

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.

  1. drunkenjunk - Jun 29, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    i’m really happy for this guy and wish him all the best. That being said, he’s 27. They’re really isn’t much upside in that. I can’t believe the Mavs picked him up, I’d much rather have Zeller than the 3 picks we got in return.

    • slippyal2 - Jun 29, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      There isn’t a lot upside in terms of physical maturity, but guy has only four years of organized basketball. The man is just getting started, I see plenty of upside.

  2. t8ertot - Jun 29, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    That’s awesome…guys like this deserve to play in the pros

  3. 49erminer4life - Jun 29, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    First of all I salute him. Great trade, I think of his age is a good thing. Could give them what Odom didnt. And you know Cuban

  4. pmd5319 - Jun 29, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Couldn’t be happier for the young man. Regardless, how his game develops, seems to me he will be great in the locker room. Wish nothing but the best Mr. James.

  5. borderline1988 - Jun 29, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    This was a business move by Mr Cuban. The guy is a genius at building a winning basketball team and managing the business at the same time.

  6. ashutto20 - Jun 29, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    From all of us…thank you

    USA!!! USA!!! USA!!!

  7. hgulkkcaj - Jun 29, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Watching that video gives me goosebumps. Thank you Mr. James.

  8. raidmagic - Jun 29, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Thank you for your service Mr James. To all of you giving thumbs down on these replies pick up a gun and stand the post, then talk.

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