Sports

April 19, 2013

Former Airman now NBA pro

Tags:
Airman 1st Class Bobby Cummings
Beale AFB, Calif.

Dallas Mavericks forward Bernard James warms up before a contest with the Sacramento Kings at the Sleep Train Arena, April 5, 2013. James served in the Air Force for six years and began playing basketball at the Harris Fitness Center on Beale Air Force Base, Calif.

The court was shining and cameras flashing as a crowd of thousands gathered in the Sleep Train Arena to watch the Dallas Mavericks duel the Sacramento Kings April 5.

Beale Airmen and 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander, Col. Phil Stewart gathered to witness the contest and meet former 9th Security Forces Squadron, Staff Sgt. Bernard James, who is now a forward on the Mavericks.

“Meeting Bernard James was a unique experience. His positive representation of the Air Force in the past and present remain steadfast,” Stewart said. “I’d like to thank him for his service and wish him well during his career in the NBA.”

An NBA court is a drastically different environment from Bernard’s humble beginnings at the Harris Fitness Center at Beale.

“Beale is where I started playing basketball and from there my opportunities opened up,” James said. “I really appreciate the support from the Air Force. I wouldn’t be where I am now without the Air Force.”

Beale Airmen and 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander, Col. Phil Stewart pose with Dallas Mavericks forward Bernard James before a contest with the Sacramento Kings, April 5, 2013. Stewart and the Airmen met James before the game.

His time in the Air Force was not always spent honing his skills within the safe confines of a gymnasium. Bernard has deployed to Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar. While at Camp Bucca, Iraq, the Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran guarded detainees and survived a mortar attack which claimed the lives of six detainees. The life-threatening experience has not diminished Bernard’s outlook on the military.

“My experiences in the Air Force and downrange have made me a better person,” James said.

The 28-year-old NBA rookie was a high school dropout and joined the Air Force at 17. His experience was limited until he was advised by his supervisor to begin playing on an intramural squad. From there, he dedicated day after day to improving his skills.

Beale Airmen celebrate their appearance on the big screen at the Sleep Train Arena, April 5, 2013, during a Sacramento Kings game against the Dallas Mavericks. The Airmen were able to meet Mavericks forward and prior Beale Airman Bernard James before the contest.

“The Air Force instilled in me discipline, a hard working mentality, and a sense of direction,” James said.

That sense of direction led him to the starting lineup for the Florida State Seminoles. As a senior in 2012 he led Florida State to its first Atlantic Coast Conference championship in school history and to the NCAA tournament. During his senior campaign, the former Airman averaged a career-high 10.8 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game and 2.3 blocks per game. Later that year his dreams of becoming a NBA pro came true when he was selected 33rd overall in the 2012 draft.

“Being in the NBA is really crazy; my teammates are guys that are hall of famers that I used to watch on TV,” James said. I get to step on the court and compete with players like Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Lebron James. It’s a great feeling, and great motivation to continue to work hard and get better.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Chris Higgins

412th Test Wing 1st Quarter Award Winners

Air Force photograph by Chris Higgins Brig. Gen. Carl E. Schaefer, 412th Test Wing commander, watches Jeanette White, 412th Civil Engineering Group, absolutely smash a foam baseball into the audience after accepting her 30-year...
 
 

News Briefs May 22, 2015

North Gate safety alert SAFETY ALERT! Due to mechanical issues with the North Gate, there have been large metal plates installed over gaps in the roadway while repair operations are being scheduled. Drivers should exercise caution and reduce speeds in these areas. In inclement weather and blowing dust, the plates may become slippery and vehicles,...
 
 
MG-appointments

Don’t be a no show

The 412th Medical Group is dedicated to meeting the health care needs of you and your family by providing access to its services and the best possible medical care. No shows are a costly problem for the 412th MDG and the patie...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Brad White

Team Edwards hosts Military Retiree Appreciation Day

Air Force photograph by Brad White Approximately 400 military retirees, their families and surviving spouses were in attendance during the 2015 Military Retiree Appreciation Day event held at the Oasis Community Center and 27 i...
 
 

Education Center Open House May 27

The Edwards AFB Education Center will be hosting an Open House†that will be open to all military and their family members, and civilians working on Edwards 11 a.m.-1 p.m., May 27. The Education and Training†Center is located on 140 Methusa Ave., Bldg. 2453. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with the Ed Center staff...
 
 

Excellence in Aviation Award banquet set for June 13

The Flight Test Historical Foundation will hold the 5th annual Excellence in Aviation Awards banquet June 13. This year’s honorees are the California Air National Guard’s 163rd Reconnaissance Wing from March Air Reserve Base. The wing operates the remotely piloted MQ-1 Predator aircraft built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. For the first time in the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>