Meet basketball coach James B! Coach James has played basketball professionally both with the NBA and overseas and has compiled an extensive skill set. James stresses defense, sportsmanship and hustle, and he loves coaching kids of all ages, especially those who want to go on to play collegiately or professionally.
Tell us about your background in basketball.
The first word that came out of my mouth was ball. I grew up watching Magic Johnson and the Lake Show. Watching them really made me want to play basketball. It was in high school when I really started having a great work ethic, and I did everything I could to become a great player. I ended up playing Division I basketball, played for the Lakers for about a month, and traveled the world playing professional basketball.
Why did you decide to become a private coach?
I became a basketball coach because I wanted to help kids. My father, uncles and mother all spent time as teachers, and they taught me the importance of imparting knowledge on the youth. I love how impressionable children’s minds are and I find the contrast between kids who want to be coached and pro players who cannot be coached very interesting.
What do you enjoy most about coaching?
I love making someone better than they thought they could be, and I enjoy seeing how excited kids are when they improve. Kids will do everything they can to get better every session. Even though my basketball training sessions are expensive, I see my clients doing my workouts five or six times a week and coming back better every session.
What can a client expect from private lessons with you?
Every session will be intense and aggressive. I like muscle confusion and exposing my clients to a lot of basketball drills. My clients should expect a difficult session, but they should also expect to always be growing and improving as a player.
What is your coaching style or philosophy?
I want to be the opposite of the loud, egotistical coach. I have been called every bad word by my basketball coaches growing up, and those coaches have taught me exactly what not to do.
Who is your favorite coach and why?
Gregg Popovich and Rick Pitino. Popovich has committed to keeping a nucleus of guys together. He has an allegiance to his players, and guys want to stay in San Antonio to play together. That alone says a lot about him as a coach. Pitino is just a winner, and he compels his players to rise above what they think they are capable of doing.
Do any moments in your athletic career stand out as especially memorable?
The first time I dunked on a guy. I was a junior in high school, and it signified all the hard work I had put in over the summer to get better. I went through rigorous and painful regiments daily to improve my basketball skills. I was working out while everyone else was swimming and relaxing. My teammates had dogged me quite a bit the year before for being undersized and not as skilled as them, but that dunk proved what I was capable of and helped me realize what hard work could do.
Do you have any success stories from coaching an athlete?
I have been coaching a guy for the past two months who is on his way to Italy to play professionally. He has improved a great deal since I began coaching him, and I am excited to see what happens.
What other sports or activities do you enjoy playing or practicing?
Tennis. I always wanted to play an individual sport. I had a hard time when I was younger being tolerant of guys that did not have the same work ethic as I did. Tennis is an individual sport, and only you can determine how good you become. Tennis is such a simple but incredible game. It requires a great deal of lateral quickness and agility.
What is your favorite sports movie of all time?
My top 3 are Rocky, Remember the Titans, and Hoosiers
What is your favorite mantra or saying (in the context of sports and/or life?)
Attitude determines altitude.
What team do you root for most enthusiastically (any sport)?
The Chicago Bulls during the Jordan era, but now I like Kevin Durant. I really like Messi and the Yankees as well. Also, I’m a big Manny Pacquiao fan.
Do you have any special talents or a surprising thing someone might not know about you?
My father, Kenny, is world famous boxing referee.