RENO, Nev. — Mike James heard it from good friends and many acquaintances.
Mike, why don’t you give the game up? You’re 37 years old and have already played at the highest level. What’s left?
For now, at least one more crack at the NBA when he signs a 10-day contract with the Mavericks this week.
James had just scored 11 points and dealt four assists for the Texas Legends in a win over the Idaho Stampede at the NBA D-League Showcase on Monday when he got the news. He will become likely the oldest NBA D-League call-up ever.
“These young guys still haven’t shown me that I’m not good enough to play in the league,” James said. “When it gets to the point where the young guys can stop me consistently and there’s nothing I can do against them, then I’ll know it’s time. But they haven’t shown me that yet. The only thing that tells me age is my birthday.”
James was called up several times last season by the Bulls from the Erie BayHawks after spending two years playing overseas in China and Turkey.
“Playing overseas is definitely different,” he said. “They usually want you to be the scorer, the primary offensive guy. I’m in the D-League what’s needed is more of a leadership role, to show the young guys what to do and lead an offense. I’m trying to use my experience.”
The Mavericks are well below .500 and struggling, Dirk Nowitzki is grumbling and it’s time to reach out for anything, anyone that might help.
Now James will try to bolster a backcourt in Dallas where Darren Collison, Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones have been up and down this season and veteran Derek Fisher left the team just before Christmas.
The Mavs waived Chris Douglas-Roberts to create a roster spot for James.
“They have some young guards that I can help develop,” James said. “If the coach wants me to play, I’m ready. I’ll be a leader, be the veteran I’ve always been, on the court, in the locker room.”