Monday, August 31, 2009

Trading in the High Tops for Combat Boots

Tim James, a former NBA forward, gives back to the country that gave him a lot.
A former NBA player who often wondered about his true calling, Tim James is now a U.S. Army soldier, a transformation that even many of the people closest to him never saw coming.

"I got my degree, lived the life I was able, have my freedom and became a professional athlete," James said last week from Iraq. "I'm the example of the American dream."

James is at Camp Speicher, the massive base near Tikrit, 85 miles north of Baghdad, not far from Saddam Hussein's hometown and where insurgents still are a perpetual threat. For Miami Northwestern High, the Miami Hurricanes, three NBA teams and some foreign clubs, he was forward Tim James. For the Army, he's Spc. Tim James of Task Force ODIN — short for Observe, Detect, Identify, Neutralize.

In layman's terms, he's part of the unit tasked with watching and catching the bad guys before they plant bombs.

So long, charter jets, enormous paychecks and Ritz-Carlton hotel stays. Hello, 130-degree afternoons, 12-hour work days, $2,600 a month and 50-caliber machine guns.
It could go without saying that James' example make other wealthy guys like Matthew Continetti, Ethan Hastert and Jason Mattera look like cowards, but we'll say it anyway.


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