One man's opportunity: James seizes Suns starting spot during Bledsoe drama

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Suns rookie Mike James has had an incredible journey to get to the NBA. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Suns rookie Mike James has had an incredible journey to get to the NBA. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

One man wanting out of town is another man's opportunity.

Eric Bledsoe's dramatic exit from the team, following a ill-timed tweet about not wanting to be "here anymore," gave Mike James a chance to start. James seized control of the position, scoring 18 points and leading the Suns to their first win.

“It’s almost like starting over,” said James, as the Suns prepared to play the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. 

“We’re just trying to string wins together and show we’re not as bad as the first three games looked like.”

James has been a basketball nomad. An Oregon native, James started his college career in eastern Arizona before transferring to Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. James made pro stops in Croatia, Israel, Italy, Greece and Spain.

“They throw firecrackers over there when they get mad and to celebrate,” said James when asked about the atmosphere in European basketball. 

“The fans aren’t next to the court in Europe so they kind of throw them in the gap.”

James lit up the NBA Summer, leading the Summer Suns in points and assists. It marked the final check point on a journey that started with the Suns in the 2015 summer league and long before in his hometown of Portland.

“I’ve kind of always knows about Mike,” said Jay Triano, Suns Interim Coach. “Mike is from the Portland area. Any time I was with the Portland Trailblazers, we either invited him for either pick up or free agent camp. We were always going, ‘this kid can play.’ People always underestimate the leagues in Europe, sometimes they’re very difficult. If you excel over there, you’re a good player.”

Despite his compelling story to get to the NBA, James seems much more interested in the road ahead.

“I don’t really think about it as much as anybody else does,” said James.  “Hopefully, when I’m done I can think about it a little more.”

In many ways, the Mike James story is just beginning.

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