Congratulations — And Thank You — To Kwame James

Posted by jstevrtc on April 13th, 2010

There’s a good chance that you would never have heard of Kwame James if not for some pieces written about him like this AP article at ESPN.com and this 2006 article at SI.com, and we wanted to do our part to spread his name among the masses.  Outside of some college basketball fans in Evansville, Indiana, and minor league hoop fans in Brooklyn, those who haven’t actually met James (us included) might never know his story.  And that would have been fine with him.

Better never to have heard of him than to remember him as a name on a long casualty list.

Kwame James -- American. (AP)

James was born in Canada and grew up in Trinidad, and played four years of college ball at Evansville.  Back in 1999, he was on an Aces team that went to the NCAA Tournament (lost as an 11-seed in the first round to Kansas), the last Evansville squad to make it.  If his name sounds familiar at all, this is probably not how you remember him, or why you now will.

According to the cited articles, two years later in December 2001, James was playing professional basketball in France and was on a Paris to Miami flight on the way to meet up with his girlfriend, and both of them were to fly to Trinidad for the holidays.  While he was napping on the Paris-Miami leg, he was awakened by a yelling flight attendant who begged for his assistance with a little problem ten rows to the rear.

He was escorted near the back of the plane where he saw none other than Richard Reid — yes, the thankfully unsuccessful “shoe bomber” — being restrained by other passengers.  We can only assume that the flight attendant awakened James because of his 6’8 and 250-pound size, but after Reid was restrained with belts and headphone cords — headphone cords?!? — it was Mr. James, at the behest of the flight’s captain, who sat on an armrest next to Reid for the remaining four hours of the flight and held him by the ponytail, acting as security until the flight could successfully divert to Boston.  Keep in mind, this was in December 2001…barely three months after the 9/11 attacks.

This past Thursday — April 8, 2010 — James officially became an American citizen.  It took a little longer than expected and required a little help from Hillary Clinton (a senator at the time), New York Representative Joe Crowley, and a resourceful immigration lawyer, but this particular Hero of Flight 63 — and there were many — was sworn in on Thursday in Atlanta.  He might not play basketball professionally any more, but it was his love for the game that brought him here and his appreciation of our country that kept him here.  All we can say is:  Welcome, Sir.  Thank you, and were glad to have you.

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04.25.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on April 25th, 2008

Some news on early entries as the deadline (Sunday at midnight) looms and some other flotsam we’ve been holding on to for your Friday…

  • UNC’s point guard Tywon Lawson will be testing the waters.  Reading the tea leaves, does this signal a pending domino effect for his teammates Wayne Ellington, Tyler Hansbrough and/or Danny Green? 
  • Speaking of the Heels, in light of KU’s title, ol’ Roy’s face was consequently removed from a bathroom in a Lawrence, KS, barber shop. 
  • Super Mario Chalmers will be testing the waters of the NBA Draft, joining teammates Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur in the pool. 
  • Memphis juniors Antonio Anderson and Robert Dozier joined Derrick Rose and CDR in declaring for the NBA Draft this week – both will test the waters.  With Joey Dorsey (ahem) graduating, Memphis could potentially lose its entire starting five.    
  • The Texas backcourt of DJ Augustin and AJ Abrams have also decided to declare for the draft.  Abrams is probably only testing the waters. 
  • Missouri’s DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons will be testing the waters this year as well. 
  • A returner!!!  Tennessee’s Tyler Smith will return to Knoxville, where he’ll likely lead the Vols to another SEC regular season title (and not much else). 
  • VCU’s Anthony Grant and UAB’s Mike Davis received contract extensions from their schools.
  • You’ve probably heard that the itinerant Larry Brown stepped down from his job as Executive VP with the Sixers yesterday.  At least one report thinks he might be going to Stanford to take over Trent Johnson’s old job. 
  • This is a neat article on which Tobacco Road players and coaches are supporting whom in the 2008 election.  Um, shouldn’t Grant Hill be supporting Billary, given that his mom roomed with her at Wellesley?  Or…  maybe that tells you all you need to know. 
  • From the leftovers department, YABB did a quick and dirty analysis of the final conference standings of the NCAA Tournament.  Big 12… good.  ACC and SEC… bad. 
  • This is something we found that shows the progression/regression of the top four programs in terms of total wins over the last ten years.  Carolina really took a hit during those Doherty years, didn’t they?
  • Turning to the NBA Playoffs, this is a nice article on the positive effects that the late Skip Prosser had on his players now in the postseason – CP3, David West and J-Ho. 
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