Tags Posts tagged with "Mike James"

Mike James

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Trades, Espn.com, Justin Reed, Mike James, Kevin Garnett, Minnesota, Juwan Howard, Houston, Rochester Athletic Club
Last week I lost one two teammates and I gained one. Justin Reed and Mike James were being traded to Houston for Juwan Howard. Photo: alexmillos
Last week I lost one two teammates and I gained one. As I scrolled through ESPN.com last week, I saw the breaking news that Justin Reed and Mike James were being traded to Houston for Juwan Howard. I guess this is the really hard part of the business of NBA basketball. When you go to battle with the same guys every day you get close to them. I’m going to miss Mike and Justin. Clearly, Houston loves Mike James and almost signed him last summer. I think that Justin Reed is only really lacking the right opportunity. It seems like he played really well here for us, especially when he got extended minutes.

Today, I was in Rochester Minnesota giving a “Life in the NBA” talk at Rochester Athletic Club. I can’t remember how many times people asked me if Kevin Garnett was going to get traded, but it was a lot. I really think that there is not going to be any trades involving Kevin Garnett. I sure hope not. I know for a fact that Kevin loves Minnesota and he likes the guys in the locker room. But I’m also aware the realities of professional sports and that from a business standpoint, anything can happen to anyone. The thing about Kevin is that he makes everyone around him better. Three years ago, Sam Cassell had an all-star season, Sprewell had a great year and many other guys on our roster had career years. When you have someone like Kevin Garnett on your team, everyone is going to benefit.

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Dwayne Casey, Got Fired, Coach Wittman, NBA
Last Tuesday our coach Dwayne Casey got fired. Photo: shutterstock.com
When I was a rookie with the L.A. Lakers, I remember my teammate Tyrone Lue telling me that in his first year he had been through a lot. I can’t even remember all of the stuff he told me, but it was something like he had been traded, he saw a coach get fired, and in one fell swoop he had an entire new group of teammates through another trade.

Last Tuesday our coach Dwayne Casey got fired. I was sitting in my hotel room in Portland and first a local writer called me on my cell phone to see if I had heard the news that Coach Casey was fired. I told him, “I think it’s a rumor that’s not true.” Then I got two more calls from national writers in the space of about two minutes and I reminded myself that it’s almost never that the journalists get something this big wrong.

Management decided it was time for a new voice to lead our team and so they made the decision to let Dwayne go. It’s always hard when something like that happens for a lot of reasons. First, Dwayne is a great coach and one of the most even keeled leaders I have ever been around. I think that’s one of the reasons why we had so much success in late December and early January. Dwayne led us through the good and the bad times. Coach Casey knew how to draw up great X and O plays especially late in ballgames when the game was on the line. (San Antonio recent win). I think it was tough for management to release Dwayne also, but ultimately, we as players shoulder a lot of the responsibility for the move. If we had gotten the job done better on the court and won more games the firing would not have happened.

At any rate, I know that Dwayne Casey is going to be involved in the game of basketball for a long time because he is a class act in every way and he knows the game of basketball backwards and forwards. Dwayne communicated with every member of our team from Kevin Garnett to the last man on the team and he was always fair.

On another note, we beat the Clippers tonight in a close game. It was a big game for us because we are fighting with L.A. for a playoff birth right now and the race is close. We had so many big contributions from the team. Mike James and KG played very well and Mark Blount hit a huge jumper late in the game. But my personal MVP goes to Ricky Davis tonight who reminded me of Ron Artest in regards to his defense on the Clipper’s perimeter players. After the game, Kevin Garnett grabbed the game ball and brought it into the locker room to give to Coach Wittman. It’s tough to win games in the NBA and now we’ve finally got one under our belt after the turmoil.

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Kevin Garnett, Antonio McDyess, Detroit Pistons, Discipline, Mark, Blaount, NBA
Kevin Garnett is an American professional basketball of the National Basketball Association (NBA). I am in pain because Kevin Garnett got ejected. Photo: s_bukley
Sometimes emotions can flare in close games and that’s what happened in tonights game against the Detroit Pistons at home. Right now I am in pain because Kevin Garnett got ejected and there is some speculation that the league might come forward with a disciplinary action for those of us involved. I still have not seen a replay of the incident and I didn’t see the first part of the tussle because I had my back turned while I was getting up.

When you get a group of 6’10” 260 pound grown men competing hard in games emotions and testosterone can run high with all of us. We were all out there competing and it got a little bit physical and then it was over. It doesn’t make any of it right, but that is the reality of the situation. I am hoping that the NBA chooses to issue fines as a form of discipline for those of us involved instead of any sort of suspensions for the players. KG is the spoon that stirs the pot for our team and Antonio McDyess is an important piece for the Pistons and has been ever since he arrived. I don’t think tonight’s incident was a fight and in my mind, being ejected is punishment enough in terms of lost minutes. Both KG and Antonio McDyess are class guys and in my mind this incident is over.

All of that is out of our control though now, and I think we are all moving on and using the “water under the bridge” expression. I did want to convey to all of you the feeling in our huddle when we knew that we had lost our leader KG for the rest of the game after he got ejected. Everyone that stepped onto the court knew that each had to raise the level of their play to an even higher level. We wanted to win that game badly for Kevin. Mike James and Randy Foye carried us and then we jumped on Mark Blount’s back who had a monster night on the boards and in terms of his offense.

Lastly, after the game the media was asking us all about Ricky Davis. Let me put this issue to rest. There are no issues with Ricky Davis or any sort of incident that is being speculated upon. Rick is a great teammate and a great player and even though he didn’t have his best shooting night, he did a lot of the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. He was out there cheering everyone on and giving us feedback when the game was on the line.

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Training Camp, Craig Smith, Randy Foye, NBA Players, Glen Taylor, Newcomer
We have just finished day #2 of training camp and how good our two new rookies are. Photo: shutterstock.com
We have just finished day #2 of training camp and most of us are exhausted. The biggest surprise so far to me is just how good our two new rookies are. Randy Foye is a scoring guard who seems to be able to go around anyone on the perimeter at will. Craig Smith is a beast. Craig is about 270 pounds and he is really light on his feet and he scores really well inside with both hands. It’s hard to think of who you might be able to compare Craig Smith to. Part of me wants to compare him to Charles Barkley, but I think a comparison to Elton Brand could be a good one too. As far as Randy Foye, I would compare him to Baron Davis or Chauncey Billups. Both of our rookies are extremely strong and continue to impress everyone.

Our first day here in Mankato started with having an awesome dinner at our team owner’s house (Glen Taylor) in Mankato. Glen has really done a lot of interesting things with his life. The one thing he told us at our meeting was that if we ever wanted to just crash and get away from our hotel in Mankato that we could go over to his house anytime and crash, watch TV, play video games, etc. I’ve never heard of a team owner giving an open invitation to his home to his team of NBA players but it was well received by the team. The only problem is that none of us has been able to take him up on it because we are going two practices a day and we mostly just try to recuperate at the hotel between practices.

During our first team meeting, newcomer, Mike James told the entire team something like, “We’re all grown men here….if somebody has a problem go to the person directly and say what’s on your mind and let the repurcussions follow.” Mike is a GREAT guy to be around and has been playing really well.

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Training Camp, Craig Smith, Randy Foye, NBA Players, Glen Taylor, Newcomer
We have just finished day #2 of training camp and how good our two new rookies are. Photo: shutterstock.com
We have just finished day #2 of training camp and most of us are exhausted. The biggest surprise so far to me is just how good our two new rookies are. Randy Foye is a scoring guard who seems to be able to go around anyone on the perimeter at will. Craig Smith is a beast. Craig is about 270 pounds and he is really light on his feet and he scores really well inside with both hands. It’s hard to think of who you might be able to compare Craig Smith to. Part of me wants to compare him to Charles Barkley, but I think a comparison to Elton Brand could be a good one too. As far as Randy Foye, I would compare him to Baron Davis or Chauncey Billups. Both of our rookies are extremely strong and continue to impress everyone.

Our first day here in Mankato started with having an awesome dinner at our team owner’s house (Glen Taylor) in Mankato. Glen has really done a lot of interesting things with his life. The one thing he told us at our meeting was that if we ever wanted to just crash and get away from our hotel in Mankato that we could go over to his house anytime and crash, watch TV, play video games, etc. I’ve never heard of a team owner giving an open invitation to his home to his team of NBA players but it was well received by the team. The only problem is that none of us has been able to take him up on it because we are going two practices a day and we mostly just try to recuperate at the hotel between practices.

During our first team meeting, newcomer, Mike James told the entire team something like, “We’re all grown men here….if somebody has a problem go to the person directly and say what’s on your mind and let the repurcussions follow.” Mike is a GREAT guy to be around and has been playing really well.

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Mike James, Best Point Gaurd, NBA, Kevin Garnett, Minesota, Basilica Block Party, Timberwolves
Mike James is an American professional basketball player. Photo: shutterstock.com
I think that Mike James was one of the best point guards in the entire NBA last season. I can’t express how excited I was when we signed him this summer. We only played Toronto twice last season, but both times, Mike James absolutely killed us. I know that Kevin Garnett has a lot of respect for Mike James and the way Mike James can play the game of basketball. I only know Mike in the context of playing against him over the years but one thing that stands out about him is his confidence.

“If it wasn’t for the game of basketball, I know what I would have done, and it wouldn’t have been nice,” he said, referring to his rough childhood in Amityville, N.Y. “The only other thing I knew was the streets. Basketball was my way out, so the only thing I can do to give back to the game is play with my heart.“Christopher Cornell – All Headline News Staff Writer

If you don’t love this quote then you probably don’t love the game of basketball. This quote from Mike James shows his human side and the reality of the tough neighborhood of where he came from. I cannot wait to play with this guy. Having competed against him I can tell you that he is one of the best competitors in the world. KG is going to love him.

I have quite a bit to say about our two new draft picks, but I will put all of that in my next entry. In the meantime, let me share a little bit of what I’ve been up to in the Twin cities.

Minnesota Calendar of Events

Two weeks ago I attended the Basilica Block party with some friends. The Basilica of St. Mary’s put on a great event along with Cities 97 and I especially enjoyed listening to Guster perform live. I have to say that the crowd roared when one of the lead singers got up on stage between songs and admitted that he had used a few expletives in one of his songs personally apologized to the Parish. I don’t think anyone in the audience really cared, and to be honest, I’m not sure if the head priest was going to put anyone on probation, but the crowd thought it was a great line.

Minnesota nice took on a new meaning on that Friday night when a Minnesota Timberwolves fan passed by my and my friends and whispered in my ear something like “Now I know for sure that the NBA height charts lie….there’s no way you’re 6’9”.” We both laughed and he walked away. I didn’t have time to explain the little “trick” that we use of getting measured in our shoes.

Tonight I made the decision to run my first ever 5K. If any of you have ever been involved with the Lifetime Fitness Torchlight 5K run, it is an event I will never forget. One of my friends here in MN was a record holder in the 400 hurdles at BYU and he told me about the event. About six of us got together to run the event. For those of you that are non-runners, I have to paint the picture for you. There were literally thousands of people lined up on Hennepin Ave and 11th street which was the starting line. Right at the front were the “hard core” runners who must have been waiting for a long time to get the prime starting spots. They were the super athletic guys and girls with the running gear that looked serious. In my mind I was going to try to win the race. When the gun went off I stayed right up at the front of the pack and dreamed of winning. After about four blocks, I realized that there was no way I could stay up there with the gazelles. Serious runners go VERY fast—I was shocked at how fast the pace was.

When I finally settled into my pace, I was passed by two 45 year old men pushing strollers with two kids in each of them. Finally when I finished the race this older gentleman came up and said to me “Good job out there Mark….what was your time?” I responded by telling him that I clocked just over 28 minutes for the 5k and asked him how he did. He got sheepish and said, “Well, I ran it in 24 minutes and I’m 60 years old as of two days ago.” The kid who won the entire event must have been about 18 and I think he finished the 3.1 mile course in slightly over 15 minutes. I think that young guy has a serious running future in store for himself.

The running community is really fun to be a part of. It was especially cool at the end when everyone sat down and drank powerade and ate salty potato chips and power bars together. I hope to see some of you at one of the next big Minneapolis Marathons, or a 5K in Minneapolis! In the meantime I will reflect on the comment one runner made to me while he passed me midway through the run while it must have looked to him like I was standing still. I think it went something like this. “Don’t worry about it…you’re definitely a fast twitch athlete!”

PS–If any of you can find Marko Jaric’s Myspace.com profile I will post your picture on this blog. Marko told me he has one, but I can’t find him for the life of me. I finally updated my myspace page even though there is a fake one of me that looks real, but it’s not and it says some crazy stuff.