NBA Champ James McAdoo Shows Determination Through Basketball Journey
For the second consecutive year, the Golden State Warriors have become the team to beat in the NBA. Forward James Michael McAdoo also known as J-MacK, says a big reason is because of the way the team gels outside of basketball.
“You know going into this year and experiencing the success that we’ve had this year. I can honestly say that it’s because off the court we’re like brothers. And it translates on the court. We have such a close knit of believers on this team. I’ve been able to start a Bible study on this team. You guys, when we are on the road we stay together. You know we go before the Lord and we’re just thankful. Because we know that this opportunity we have it’s not something that comes along everyday, said James.”
James became a Christian at an early age. Though he came from a long line of great basketball players, he says he didn’t want his identity to come solely from basketball.
“You know, the biggest thing for me is just always realizing that no matter what, my faith in God is how I want to be identified, said James.”
After James graduated from Norfolk Christian High School in Virginia, he went on to play for the University North Carolina with dreams of leading his team to the Final Four, a National Championship, and going into the NBA. But he decided to cut his college career short after his junior year.
Shawn: You play three season, you opt out or forgo your senior year and enter the NBA draft. But you’re not drafted. How did that affect you?
“It was tough. I can tell you when I look back, leaving the University of North Carolina after my Junior year was a pretty selfish decision. And obviously after I didn’t get drafted, honestly I can tell you I wasn’t surprised, said James.”
Maybe not surprised, but he was disappointed and embarrassed.
“It all came out on ESPN on live television that I went undrafted. This guy that was this top recruit coming out and it was really a tough pill to swallow.”
Just after the draft while at home in Norfolk, James received a call from his agent.
“I get a call from my agent saying, Obviously this is not how we saw this night going, but we have options on the table for Summer league. So I’m like okay so this is what it’s going to look like. I would have to go to Summer league, perform well enough there to earn a training camp invite, said James.”
After showing off his skill in the NBA Summer league…he got an invite to attend the Golden State Warriors training camp. but there was one caveat, if he didn’t make the team he’d be sent down to the D-League…the minors of the NBA. For many NBA prospects that’s the end of the road.
“I heard some horror stories about the D-Leauge. It’s a tough lifestyle, said James.”
While in training camp, James began to seek God in prayer.
“So it comes down to the final day of cuts. I get that call. My agent’s like you know what, they are going to release you. Talk about just heartbreak again. Now I’ve got to go down to the D-League.
He wasn’t there long, when he got a call from his agent. The warriors were giving him another shot.
“He’s like, Hey, they’re going to call you up for your first 10-day contract. You get two 10-day contracts before they call you up for the rest of the year.”
James completed both 10-day contracts and was called up to the warriors just in time to join their playoff run towards winning the 2015 NBA Championship.
Shawn: What’s God saying to you in that moment. Was it like a God wink with God saying ”Yeah, I told you…”?
“It was honestly one of those things where God was like, “I’ve got you. Don’t worry, said James.”
Today, as the Warriors fight towards their second consecutive NBA title, James says even with all his success, don’t get it twisted… he’s playing for the Lord.
“You know it’s easy for me to say being an NBA basketball player that money doesn’t make you happy, fame doesn’t make you happy. I could lose everything today and I can honestly say I would still praise my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And it’s not easy. Everyday it’s a tough thing to do to really be sold out for the Lord but it’s worth it. I promise you it’s worth it.”