Spreading His Wings

At the start of the 2012-13 NBA season, there will be one member of the Dallas Mavericks who could not have been a rookie without being a veteran first. “I honestly wouldn’t be playing basketball if it wasn’t for the Air Force. I might be messing around, but I wouldn’t be playing competitively,” said Bernard James, a former staff sergeant who served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Qatar between 2003 and 2008, and is now a first-year center for the Mavs. “At every base I was at, I was lucky to find a basketball court,” said James in an interview. While in the Air Force, James played in the 2005 Armed Forces All Star Game, which led to Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton offering him a scholarship. James capitalized on the opportunity to play college basketball and on June 28, 2012, the professional door opened for him as the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him and then traded him to the Dallas that same day. Click here to continue to the full report.