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Friday, February 17, 2012
Linsanity kept Mike James from the Knicks

By Nick Friedell

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Not that long ago, Chicago Bulls guard Mike James thought he was headed to the New York Knicks to replace Jeremy Lin on the roster.

But then things changed.

"I was supposed to go to New York for Jeremy Lin, but then Linsanity happened," James, who had previously been waived several weeks ago by the Bulls, said with a smile after Friday's practice. "Everything happens for a reason. Because I'm from New York, it would have been great to go back home. It would have be great to be in Madison Square Garden, a place that I grew up going to, but at the same time, God has plan and purpose and it wasn't meant for me to be there."

James, who has since been re-signed by the Bulls, holds no ill will towards the Knicks’ rookie guard.

"It's great," James said of Lin's accomplishments. "It's great for basketball. It's great for him. I hope that he continues to have success. I think that what he's doing out there -- it's amazing, coming from nowhere. I always say there's only a handful of stars that are born. The rest of them are made. There's not too many LeBron Jameses, Derrick Roses, Dwight Howards. The rest of them, you have to find your path ... in success. [Lin] was able to make success for himself."

Lin has set the basketball world on its ear over the past two weeks, averaging 13 points and five assists in 16 games this season. He has started six games and is a major reason why the Knicks are currently on a seven-game winning streak.

"Once you start getting the fans behind you, and once the media starts loving you, then they're the ones that turn you into a star," James continued. "As long as you continue to keep having success in the game, and you continue to keep doing the things that have gained you success, well then the fame [and] the stardom will keep growing for you."

James, a very religious man himself, is most impressed by the fact that Lin has stayed true to his faith.

"The one thing I respect about him more than anything is that he's not ashamed or embarrassed to talk about his faith," James said. "Which is definitely something that I tip my hat off to him about more than anything else."