JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Basketball is more than just a sport to the James family.
“When I found out his ears were being formed in my wife’s stomach I started to talk to him and just let him know that he can do anything he puts his mind to,” Jonas James, Jr. said.
Jonas James III had a lot of reasons to come to Jackson State, but the biggest one – family.
“They wanted me to come here straight out of high school,” James III said. “But I chose Pearl River. Then I finally made the decision to come here like they told me…I wanted to bring a (SWAC) championship back to my hometown.”
Now James III becomes the latest member of the “James Gang” to attend JSU – continuing a legacy started by his father James Jr.
“I graduated here,” James, Jr. said. “My wife graduated from here. His (James III) pastor graduated from here. He’s got uncles and aunts that graduated, and all of us just come down and come here just to see him do well.”
And James is doing very well in his first season playing for the hometown team, which isn’t surprising to his dad who knew a long time ago Jonas was going to be special.
“He was playing in middle school. At Siwell Middle School – he was playing against a lot of bigger kids. I mean, like maybe 3 or 4 feet taller than him. And he would take it down, and go over them, and shoot or go by them, blow past them and give a dime pass. I knew it then,” James, Jr. said.
“Since I was little – he’s (James, Jr.) always been there. Him and my mom, they’re always there. And it’s just good they don’t got to go far to see me play now. They can go right down the street,” James III said.
Having his son back home is huge, because James Jr. doesn’t have a lot of free time for road trips. He’s also the girls basketball and track coach at Lanier High School. When he’s not coaching, you can see him in the stands cheering on his son, right next to his biggest fan – his mom.
“My mom, yea she’s there all the time. Every game – she’s there. If she can make it any kind of way, she’s there,” James III said.