I was listening to KNBR (680AM) on April 30 on my way back from running errands and happened to catch a nice radio interview between the San Francisco 49ers' second-round pick LaMichael James and radio hosts Tom Tolbert (Mr. T) and Eric Byrnes. There were a few things that James had to say that stood out in my mind. Things that were registered as positive thoughts and others that I thought were a little vain but stood out nonetheless.
LaMichael James: "I think they're going to use me as an athlete. I can do numerous things, play special teams, run routes out of the back field, run up the middle; I can do anything they ask me to do."
These are the kinds of things fans like to hear, especially from players who are considered to be extremely talented and skilled. You can never have too many selfless players on your football team. I don't know of any football team that is more of a family and works harder than Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers. Harbaugh turned that team into a family and LaMichael is now the youngest brother, so to speak. He is new and will be brought up by Harbaugh, and he's expected to follow the rules as a member of the family. If James learned anything from playing against Harbaugh in college, it's that Harbaugh likes his football players aggressive and physical, both of which are words I would use to describe James. His selflessness and willingness to play Harbaugh's style of football - and do what is asked of him - could prove to make James an invaluable asset to the 49ers.
LMJ: "I would not go to two or three colleges, just because they were Adidas…No three stripes for me. All Nike."
This has to be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard in my life. Yet, I can seemingly understand where James is coming from. At 18 and 19-years-old, we're all looking for the latest and greatest and for an athlete it's Nike. Nike this and Nike that. Nike is cool and I want to be cool, so I want to go to a school that wears Nike. While it's certainly no way to make a decision, I'm sure the 22-year-old James looks back at that and feels at least a little foolish for thinking that way, but not upset for making the decision he did. (At least he can breathe a little easier knowing the NFL just switched to those Nike jerseys anyway.)
LMJ: "It's always good to have that degree. We're always one snap away and that's true for everybody. You can't play football forever."
This is probably the last thing you would expect a 22-year-old newly-christened professional football player to say. That being said, it's a refreshing take from a youngster who isn't all about the money. Sure the money is nice, anyone who says they don't like money would be lying to your face, but he knows his priorities. He is missing some 49ers' workouts in order to take his finals and graduate on June 19. James' dedication to his education and his impeccable foresight speak volumes about what kind of person James is and his commitment to finish what he starts. In the interview he also points out that he almost left Oregon to go home to Texas after two years because of the culture shock that Eugene, OR presented him with. Yet, he stayed, kept his head up and helped the Oregon Ducks become a great football team. That dedication will hopefully translate automatically to his new football family, the 49ers.
To listen to the entire interview, you can visit this link.
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where fresh content is posted daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
49ers.com. LaMichael James on KNBR. NFL 2012.
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