As the backdrop shuffles, and the world keeps spinning, the one consistent thread in Anthony James’s story has been basketball. Like every great basketball player, his 1000-hours started at an early age. Family-supported, James fell in love with the game and that game became a compass pointing him from point A to B; and from atop the key to inches from the rim.
“It all started in Saint Louis, Missouri, where the love of the game began.” James said.
James grew up with hoop dreams, of course. But he also grew up with something he found even more important; God. For James, God made all of his game winning shots with him, and every time a new door or window opened through basketball, it was merely because God pulled some strings behind life’s eternal curtain.
“Each opportunity I’ve been given, I’ve gave thanks to God, knowing none of this would be possible without him.” James said.
One of these opportunities which came through basketball was his scholarship to the University of Northern Iowa. He played hard there and this thread paid for his schooling and eventually his greatest accomplishment; his degree.
“ More than anything my biggest accomplishment wouldn’t be all the scoring or hitting a game winning shot, it was me getting my degree and having my family there to see me walk across the stage.” James said.
The bright stage led straight into the real world. A real world that doesn’t promise basketball. One that a talent, such as athleticism, could be swept under the rug. James didn’t allow that, he decided to play overseas professionally and continue his life riding on the coat-stings of basketball.
After the dust cleared, home started to call his name. And nothing calls quite like home does. James came back to the Cedar Valley area and signed with our CourtKings.
“It has been a wonderful experience and winning the first ever MBL championship is something that could never be taking away.” James said.
Though athletics come with a funny opt-out clause. Time doesn’t care how much you love the game, nor does it care about how hard you’ve worked. At some point your body in the realm of time will tell you it’s over. At 27, James knows that basketball will one day be taken away from him. Luckily James’s real passion will never be trumped by anything under the sun. To help others.
James was born with the extraordinary gift to truly care about others. He shows this during his 9-5 when he works as a social worker in Waterloo. He shows this during his coaching sessions with local kids who just want to know the game, and he puts this on display playing for the Cedar Valley CourtKings as he showcases the definition of a true floor-general.
“I’m able to see two plays ahead and lead my teammates to scoring positions to be successful. I’m the ultimate teammate. As the floor general as some would call it you have to also make sure everyone is comfortable and feel apart of the team.” James said.
James has played basketball for the UNI Panthers, professionally in Europe, and now for the CourtKings. The constant thread of basketball has fueled a lot in his life. As James looks forward he wants to always be passing opportunities to the next guy. He wants to win another MBL championship and he wants basketball to carry him through all the chapters in his life.
“I’ll never completely leave the game.” James said. “Basketball is my “Safe Haven” my place of peace. As long as there is a basketball and kids willing to get better, I’ll be doing this for awhile.”