Get to Know Bernard James: U.S. Veteran to NBA Player
By Shearon D. Lucas, contributing writer
It was such a pleasure to speak with Benard James during a recent interview. He was originally drafted to the Cleveland Cavilers, but then traded to the Dallas Mavericks. Despite his recently found fame, Mr. James is a very humble, appreciative young man. As a six year veteran of the U.S. Air Force he served in combat, including three tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar, and climbed the ranks.
As if that isn’t impressive enough, Bernard left his mark with the Florida State Seminole’s men’s basketball team: ranked second in school history with a .627 field goal shooting mark, and third in the school’s history for blocked shots (164) with a career of only two years. Again, this is very impressive. Bernard aimed for number one in those areas but feels he fell short. However, the tenacity and focus of this man could not result in “falling short” in anyone’s eyes.
ASM: What do you attribute to your outstanding two year career?
James: I came from a basketball family, college and hard work. I’m waiting to get out on the court.
ASM: How do you feel about your new career endeavor?
James: I feel good about the new career, working really hard but happy to be able to help the team out.
ASM: Do you feel that military service members and their families should exercise their right to vote?
James: Definitely, you have a voice and you should use it. This is a right!
ASM: Once you set your sights on going to the NBA, what did you do differently?
James: I made basketball camp a priority. Once I got locked in, I made it a priority and just made it a focus. Any decision that I made it had to be basketball focused.
ASM: If there was anything that you could change in your career what would it be?
James: Nothing. I’m happy where I am right now. If I could change anything there’s no telling where I would be.
ASM: I know you have served overseas in combat, can you tell me about that experience?
James: It was tough. I had to rely on people that I worked with. They become your family-everything you need. Everything you [normally] get from your blood family, these people become that for you.
ASM: How has serving overseas in a war impacted your life?
James: It gave me a greater appreciation for some of the things we have in the United States. I learned to appreciate the little things in life.
ASM: What’s the one thing you would like civilians to know about the lifestyle of military youth and military service members?
James: It’s a hard life. Being deployed, leaving everything behind for six months to a year and then coming back trying to pick up where you left off; seeing that other people have moved on with their lives and things that they were doing. . . It’s hard.
ASM: After your basketball career, what other endeavors would you like to pursue?
James: I would like to open my own business. I am still trying to figure out what it is I want to do. I do know that I want to be a business owner.
ASM: Since your mother was a military spouse, what advise or words of encouragement would you give to a spouse when it comes to supporting their spouse and holding down the household when the spouse is away at war?
James: Support them and use the resources that are available to them. They are there to help you make the journey easier.
Some fun things about Bernard James . . .
ASM: What was the last book you read?
James: The Solomon Key by Dan Brown
ASM: What is your favorite type of music?
James: A little of everything . . . I don’t have a favorite type.
ASM: Favorite types of movies/films/television shows?
James: I’m a HUGE sci-fi guy.
ASM: What are your favorite foods?
James: I love Italian food.
ASM: What’s your favorite pastime?
James: Watching movies.
ASM: Who or what inspires you?
James: Men and women serving in the military.
ASM: What is your weakness?
James: I would have to say I have a sweet tooth.
ASM: Well that’s not necessarily a bad thing….
James: Well sometimes it can be.
ASM: What is your strength?
James: I’d have to say my focus.
ASM: Yes, I would agree, you remained focused and accomplished a huge goal….
James: Yes, but I still have a long way to go.
ASM: What is your comfort zone . . . meaning, what do you do to relax and unwind outside of basketball?
James: I listen to music to unwind.