I wouldn’t be surprised if the average Mavericks fan told me that they hadn’t the foggiest notion as to what team James Singleton
played for in the NBA. I would say that a majority of them would be surprised to learn that he plays for the Mavericks, and has all year. Even NBA.com has his video highlights from when he played for the Clippers three seasons ago.
Truthfully, it wasn’t until the Washington Wizards game a few weeks back that he started to get meaningful playing time and people started to notice him.
The first time I saw James Singleton play was during his 2005-06 rookie season. It was a Sunday game in Los Angeles and the Mavericks had a sizeable lead halfway through the fourth. It was garbage time for both teams. James came into the game and scored 14 points in 8 minutes – put-back dunks, driving dunks, driving lay-ups and three pointers –
pretty much one right after the other. All the Mavericks were like, “Who is this guy?”
Kinda like everyone in town is doing now!
Inside Dish roped James into a quick sit down on Tuesday morning after the team’s game day shoot around. Let’s find out who he is:
When did you start playing basketball?
I started playing when I was in high school, my sophomore year, so I guess I was 15 years old. I played at Hirsch Metropolitan High School in Chicago.
When did you start dreaming about making it to the NBA?
I didn’t really start thinking about the NBA until late in high school. When I started playing basketball I was under 6 feet. I didn’t grow until I was 17 years old. I grew 6 inches and I started to develop my basketball skills. Once I started getting a bunch of interest from colleges, that’s when I really start putting the goal of the NBA in my mind. I thought it would be easier to play in the NBA than it would to make it as a baseball player or football player, so I went for it.
Your path to the NBA has had its twists and turns?
Well, coming out of college I knew I wasn’t ready for the NBA so I went overseas for two years (2003-04 and 2004-05) My first year, I went to Jesi in Italy and played A2 (Italian League). Then the second year I went to Milan and played A1 (Italian League). After those two years, I was signed by the Clippers and I played there for two seasons (2005-06 and 2006-07). I had a team-option third year with the Clippers but they didn’t pick it up, so I went to Spain that fall. After being in Spain for only a month, I tore my ACL on September 29 (2007).
How did you feel when you found out that the Mavericks wanted you to play for their summer league team?
At first, coming off an injury, I was a little nervous. I wasn’t fully recovered. They say that it takes at least a year before everything is really ready, but I was back in five months. I just told myself why not go play?
What about training camp this fall – were you nervous that you might not make the team?
Not really, because once I get my foot in the door I am going to make the most of it. I work hard in everything that I do. I try to make it hard for people not to see what I am doing or what I am capable of doing on the basketball court. I think a lot of people think that just because a person isn’t playing that it means he isn’t doing anything. After a game, if I don’t play, I am downstairs (at the practice court) working on my game until midnight. I get my practice in no matter what, so I keep myself tuned up for when I do get to play.
What would you being doing right now if you weren’t a basketball player?
I would be back in school getting a degree in computer science.
What did you do with your first NBA paycheck?
My first NBA paycheck I gave to my parents. Remember, I came from overseas so I already had some money. There is more money overseas for players like me than there is in the NBA. I made more money in one year over there than I did for the two seasons that I played for the Clippers.
Who is the toughest guy that you have ever had to guard in the NBA?
It is a collection of players. My rookie year I had to guard Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and basically every premier bigger 3’s in the league. A lot of time I also had to guard the more athletic 4’s. But really, with the way I play I can actually guard pretty much 1 thru 5. It just depends on the size of the 5.
Do you like playing with Dirk Nowitzki?
I love playing with Dirk. It makes the game so much easier having him on your team. He is 7 feet tall and he can shoot the lights out every night. So when I am in the game, I am automatically going to play the 5. Since he draws so much attention there are going to be open spots for me. I didn’t realize how cool Dirk was before I came here. Playing against him, you see him as the enemy. He instantly gets on your nerves because you want to beat him so bad. He does things that you just wouldn’t expect from a superstar. He works so hard on his shooting skills. He shoots the ball relentlessly after practice, on days off, and before games. He is amazing.
What type of music do you have in your Ipod?
I have everything, including classical to tranquil, relaxing, trance music.
Who are your favorite musicians?
Right now I would have to say Young Jeezy and T.I.
Who is your favorite actor?
I gotta say Denzel (Washington). He is so smooth in all his roles.
Who is your favorite actress?
What is your all-time favorite movie?
My all-time favorite movie has to be ‘Old School’. It is just a pure comedy. Will Ferrell is a nut. I mean when Frank the Tank went streaking, that was too funny. That part sticks out in my mind all the time.
What is the last movie that you went to see at a theatre?
Just last night, I went to see ‘Seven Pounds’. I didn’t know what Seven Pounds meant to the absolute end of the movie.
What is your favorite TV show today?
My favorite show right now is ‘Prison Break’.
What was your favorite TV show growing up?
‘The Simpsons’. Everything that Bart did I tried to do myself.
Do you eat fast food?
Are you kidding? All the time. I eat everything -- Burger King, McDonalds. You name it.
What is your favorite junk food?
Do you drink coffee?
Sweet tea, Equal, or Arnold Palmer?
How do you like your eggs?
Scrambled well with cheese.
How do you like your steak prepared?
It depends on the place, but mostly I like it medium well.
What is your favorite restaurant in the NBA?
Mastro’s in Beverly Hills.
What is your favorite restaurant in Dallas?
I don’t really go out much in Dallas, but I have been to The Porch and I like it. It is pretty good.
Name five people that you would invite to dinner if you could invite anyone?
Barack Obama -- I definitely want to ask him what goes through his mind. Bill Clinton -- I have a few questions for him too. Bill Gates -- I want to touch him to make sure he is not an alien. I mean, the stuff that guy thinks of is amazing. And definitely I would have liked to have met Bernie Mac. He was a great comedian. I think that is pretty much it for now.
Do you come from a big family?
Well, I don’t know…I am the youngest of four. I have two older sisters: Katina (34) and Margie (31). My brother is the oldest and his name is Armstard (36).
Do you have any pets?
Oh, yes! I have 3 Pit Bulls. I have two boys named Dre and Taz. And the girl’s name is Mya.
What is your favorite NBA city?
For sure, New York! There is always something to do in New York.
What is your favorite resort destination?
What is the best thing you have ever gotten for free because you are an NBA player?
This may sound weird, but the best thing I get for free is appreciation from little kids. I don’t care how much money you have…you cannot buy the feeling you get when little kids look up to you for being a basketball player in the NBA.
What is your newest gadget?
Well, I just got a new sound system in my car. I had it upgraded at JR’s Automotive. It’s got TVs, cameras…it’s nice.
What was the last pair of jeans that you bought?
Ed Hardy by Christian Audigier.
What is your favorite hobby?
I like taking gadgets apart and putting them back together. I like to know how things work.
What kind of car do you drive?
Well, I have five cars in Dallas. I have a 2008 Dodge Challenger, 2008 Dodge Charger SRT8, 2008 Chrysler 300 SRT8, 2008 Cadillac Escalade ESV, and 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT. I like the American cars because I learned my lesson after playing in LA. You don’t need an expensive Mercedes. I can buy three cars for the price I paid for a S550 when I was a Clipper.