DALLAS -- Today has a very special meaning for Dallas Mavericks center Bernard James.
The rookie from Florida State served six years in the military, and since today is Veterans Day, this gives James time to reflect on what the military has meant to him and his family."I've been through a lot of stuff, I've seen a lot of stuff, and I've met a lot of good people in the military,'' James said earlier this morning. "Really, the reason why I'm here today is because of my experiences in the military.
"This is a special day to celebrate veterans and for them to get a little bit attention that I feel like they deserve on a daily basis, but sometimes it goes under the radar.''
James spent two years apiece in the Air Force while stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar. He did his six years of work so well that he was eventually promoted to Staff Sargeent.
On this day in the past, James usually spends his time with friends and family. But Monday morning he had to get up and attend the Mavs' shootaround, and tonight he'll be playing in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Coach Rick Carlisle is proud to have one of his players as a military veteran.
"So many people have sacrificed so much, and this is really a small tribute that we pay to them for what they've done,'' Carlisle said. "So it's important.''
Guard Dahntay Jones also tipped his cap to people like James, who sacrificed plenty for the safety and freedom of this country.
"It's a day to celebrate the great men and women who served our country and protected our country,'' Jones said. "I have family members that are serving and protecting us and I'm very appreciative of the job that they do, because it's a wonderful job that they take on to protect the country that we love.''
The Mavs will host Military Appreciation Night tonight against the Timberwolves, as all military veterans can get into the game for half-price. Meanwhile, it's almost as if James, 27, has become the cover boy of the military for the NBA.
"It's a good feeling, it's a really good feeling,'' James said. "I'm just proud that I can be the NBA face for the military.''
-- Dwain Price
Follow me on Twitter