NBA star Mike James of the Washington Wizards is one busy guy! Father to four gorgeous girls, this proud papa is one of the most compelling and highest ranked players in the NBA today. Mike and his wife Angela opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about their family life which is deeply rooted in spirituality and strong values. Mike also talked about rising from adversity to reach his dreams and how he encourages young people to do the same.
CBS: Tell us about your daughters, how old are they? What activities are they involved in?
MJ: “We have four beautiful daughters. Jadon is 9, Amaya is 6, Michal is 2 and McKinley is 1. The older two make very good grades in school. They are competitive cheerleaders and also play chess and the piano. Jadon plays soccer and is very good at it. They are both wise beyond their years. All of the girls are beautiful inside and out. Amaya is the witty out-spoken one in the bunch. Jadon likes to make everyone feel comfortable. Michal and McKinley are just as sweet as can be. They are all daddy’s girls except Amaya. Amaya prefers to hang out with mommy. They love to swim and dance. As a matter of fact they really love to dance.”
CBS: What’s it like being a dad? Any favorite memories?
MJ: “I have four very special children. They are a handful but very respectful. I have fun with my girls. We horseplay in the house like 5 kids and enjoy watching movies together. I try to always keep an open line of communication with each one of them so I am never in the dark with things going on in their lives.
I love being a dad. It’s a lot of hard work but my girls make it easy for me. My favorite memory is when Amaya was 4 years old and in Pre-K. Her teacher called and told my wife and I that she was being disruptive in class. We have almost zero tolerance for being a troublemaker in school. And so we disciplined her, talked about the issue, made her eat and go to bed early and think about what she did. She called me to her room told me she will never be bad in school again. [She] told me she was sorry and it won’t happen again. We still made her go to bed early. Now the next day while we are eating dinner I ask Amaya how was school today and she looked at me and with a straight face asked, “did the teacher call?” I was lost for words. She continued to eat and I thought to myself actually the teacher didn’t call so it must have been a good day.”
CBS: Tell us what a typical day is like in the James household.
MJ: “A typical day in the James house…Wild! Lots of noise and laughter, sometimes crying, sometimes both at the same time. Kids climbing and jumping, dancing and singing, A whole lotta love! We always have people over. Always entertaining, having bible study, birthday parties and get togethers. People working out in the gym. Always something going on!”
CBS: What do you like to do together as a family?
MJ: “As a family we like to go to the movies. We have seen every children’s movie. We have a favorite movie spot not to far from the house and they serve dinner. We have a membership to several museums and the zoo. I really want the kids to enjoy life so we expose them to a lot!”
CBS: Why did you decide to participate in Supernanny and what has it done for your family?
AJ: “We decided to participate in Supernanny because Mike was leaving for the basketball season and it was the first time the family had been separated. We needed to make some changes for the well being of our kids and myself. Supernanny really helped me get the kids on a schedule – bedtime and dinner especially. All the girls are now sleeping in their own beds I have become a better time-manager and organizer. We also Skype on a regular basis to keep the family connected. Jo Frost was very helpful.”
CBS: Would you want your daughters to pursue professional sports?
MJ: “I don’t care if they play a pro sport. Angela and I encourage them to try many different sports and activities so they can find something they can be passionate about. I would love for them to get college scholarships for an activity whether it is soccer, basketball or even cheer because of the camaraderie that you get in college sports. And I’d like them to enjoy it like I did. But whether they get a scholarship or not, they will all go to college. My aspirations for them is to grow into the women God has called them to be and if I can help them become those God fearing women, I know he will order their steps.”
CBS: What are your hopes and dreams for them?
AJ: “Our girls are so amazing! Anything they do will be special. I hope that Mike and I will have instilled enough values, taught them enough people skills and exposed them to enough of life’s little gifts that they would be the best that they can be no matter what path they choose! I dream that they will love God so much that they will be able to separate themselves from the cares of this world and truly maximize their time here on earth.”
CBS: What is your best advice for kids who aspire to play in the NBA?
MJ: “Practice your game. Fall in love with the game. Always believe in your talent and skill but you have to put more work on sharpening your skill level than you do video games or anything else. It will take dedication and hard work. I suggest you become a gym rat, watch your favorite pro players, copy their style and make it your own.”
CBS: We read that your childhood had its challenges. What attracted you to basketball and how did it change your life?
MJ: “I had many challenges in life and continue to have challenges but I fell in love with the game of basketball at an early age. My only options were to go to the park or hang with my friends and get in trouble. All my friends started selling drugs in middle school. My choices were to follow my peers or follow my heart and truly believe my outlet would be basketball. So I jumped in with all my heart and it has provided me the life that I have always wanted. It has allowed me to help my family, my community and taught me valuable lessons that have helped shape me.”
CBS: How do you and your wife Angela balance career and family?
MJ: “It’s hard because I’m away from my family so much but my wife is a trooper. Every man needs an Angela James in their life. I have a woman of strong faith and she holds down the fort while I’m gone.”
CBS: Your bio says that you have a strong faith. How has your faith influenced your life?
MJ: “My faith has kept me strong in all my decision making. When you are away from your family it’s a lot of temptations out there. When you live your life for Christ you are held accountable for the things you do and you know he’s always watching. Plus it’s no better place to be than in the presence of God with a clean heart.”
CBS: You’ve been very active in giving back to the community. Tell us a little about the Mike James Scholarship. Who applies for the scholarships? Have you met some of the recipients?
AJ: “Mike started the foundation back in 2005. He really wanted to give kids an opportunity that he did not have. The scholarships were designed to help hard-working children like Mike who just did not have the finances for a secondary education. It grew into something much more. Our goal is not only raise money for scholarships but to also help kids in other areas of their lives. We understand that some children never get to the point of graduation let alone a scholarship. We would like to implement mentoring programs through our foundation. Mike usually adopts 2-3 schools per year and provides mentoring to the males via email and funding for different programs within the school.”
CBS: Does it feel a bit like coming full circle to be able to offer these kinds of opportunities to kids who might not otherwise have them?
MJ: “It’s not full circle because I never had anyone do something like this when I was younger. We had pro athletes and musicians from the neighborhood, but they were never approachable. So I had to learn the hard way. I want the kids I help to see they are no different from me. If I can make it they definitely can make it. Now they have someone they can measure up too. I love helping these children. My adrenaline pumps when I see a kid who society called a problem child is now a straight A student or even B. They are challenging themselves and it makes me feel good when I know I had something to do with it.”
CBS: We read that you currently have 20 Mike James Basketball Experience Camps. Do you plan to expand, if so how do you select sites?
MJ: “I’ve always selected places where I have ties with the people in that city. I would love to expand to more cities but need to more support to take the program nationwide. My basketball experience is more than just basketball. I have an etiquette teacher that comes in to teach them the proper way to be ladies and gentlemen. We bring in lawyers and doctors to talk to these kids because everyone can’t be a pro athlete. I encourage them to dream big and reach for the stars. It’s about getting these kids to believe they can be anything they want to be. It just takes had work and the belief that they can do it.”
CBS: Are you or your wife working on any other projects or charities you’d like to tell us about?
MJ: “I just finished my memoirs called Fight For Your Dreams and should be in stores by January. It is an inspiring story about my life growing up in Amityville and the struggles and perseverance needed to accomplish my dreams of being the best I can be.
I have also taken several business courses through the NBA Players Association Programs including sportscasting as I hope to make that transition when I retire. Angela is currently working on her own Cooking show titled AJ’s Comfy Kitchen and I know the show will be a huge hit because Angela cooks like an old grandmother from the south and is extremely easy on the eyes.
We both have been very active in our Foundation and have recently added new programs in an attempt to really make a difference in our community. You can log onto the website for more information at www.Mikejames7.com (just a little shameless plug).”