Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NBA [Print without images]

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Mike James almost replaced Jeremy Lin

By Melissa Isaacson
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Mike-sanity? Mike-tensity?

Not quite the same ring to it. But it was the grace of fate that kept Jeremy Lin with the New York Knicks, who according to Bulls guard Mike James were considering his release last month in order to sign Mike James from the D-League.

Instead, with James confirming the speculation Tuesday, the Knicks held onto Lin and "the Lin-sanity happened." James was subsequently signed by the Bulls and re-signed to a 10-day contract Tuesday.

"But you tip your hat to a guy like (Lin)," said James, a ninth-year journeyman who has played three games for a total of 25 minutes and 12 points since first signing with the Bulls to help fill the void after Derrick Rose injured his toe. "He took advantage of his opportunity and when he got on the court, he made the most of his time.

"There's only a handful of stars that are born, the rest are made. So whenever you have an opportunity, just take full advantage of it. He's a living testament of never giving up on yourself and when that call finally comes and they put your name out there, well, then, all the work you've been doing to prepare yourself and all the faith you've had believing God will open doors ... the only thing that will separate you from it is opportunity."

And James is not about to question fate.

"Everything has a plan and purpose behind it," he said. "Everything happens for a reason. I'm happy for his success. I hope that he continues to do what he needs to do is keep it going. It's not what you did in this game, it's about what you're doing."

Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.