“At one point in my life, the act of dribbling a ball meant everything to me,” said the 32 year old.
James Barnes, mechanic, was born in 1981 in a small town just outside of Oklahoma City. His parents, retired Master Sgt. Mike and Judy Barnes had three kids; two girls and a boy.
Growing up in an Air Force family, Barnes’s life was harder than the average kid. Overtime he found it was difficult to keep friends because he knew in a couple of years he would be leaving them. Barnes never really cared about anything but his family. From the moment he could walk Barnes bonded with his father by working in the garage. When he turned eight and he discovered a little orange ball.
“When I picked up that basketball that’s when I could relax and just be myself,” said the Oklahoma native. “I knew then that I was in love with the game of basketball!”
Since that day, Barnes has been all over the world and played basketball at four different primary schools. During a regional championship game in his junior year, Barnes broke both of his ankles, which detoured his dream of playing on a collegiate or pro-level.
“When I got injured in high school, all I could think about is that my dream is over,” he said.
After recovering from his injuries, Barnes ignited his dormant passion for working on cars.
Barnes now works as a full-time mechanic at the Davis-Monthan’s Auto Hobby Shop. He helps customers in a variety of ways from guiding to assisting them in repairing their vehicles, while still working to become more proficient at his job. Even though Barnes couldn’t pursue his basketball career, it hasn’t stopped him from playing.
As far as everyone knows during the day, Barnes is just a regular guy trying to make ends meet. But come nightfall, he takes off that uniform and replaces it with another one; a D-M basketball jersey.
Barnes has been a member of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base basketball team for 13 years and has helped them win numerous tournaments.