Get to Know "Jazzy J"
At The University of Georgia, Jasmine James finished her collegiate career ranked among the Bulldogs' all-time top 10 in steals, assists, field goal attempts and games started, in the top 20 in scoring and helped lead Georgia to an Elite Eight appearance in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Now, in seven games with Phoenix, the 5-9 rookie guard has earned regular minutes playing behind WNBA leading scorer Diana Taurasi and alongside veteran Alexis Hornbuckle.
Averaging 11.6 minutes off the bench, James has appeared in all seven games since joining the Mercury, shot 50 percent or better three times, and has turned the ball over just six total times – good for a remarkable 0.86 turnovers per game average.
Want to know “Jazzy J” a little better off the court? Check out our Q&A below.
PhoenixMercury.com: When did you first know you wanted to play basketball for a living?
Jasmine James: Probably when I was six-years-old. That was when I began to tell my parents and my grandmother that when I grew up, I would be a WNBA player.
PhoenixMercury.com: Who inspired you growing up?
James: My inspiration has always been my youngest sister, Destiny. I watched her encounter a lot of injuries and illnesses, yet she never let any of it stop her. Watching her overcome everything always inspired me to keep going because I knew that I could get through any obstacles as well.
PhoenixMercury.com: How would you describe your road to the WNBA? What kept you motivated?
James: I’d describe my road to the WNBA as a roller coaster. My entire life I have been doubted by so many people, but I never stopped working hard to accomplish what I wanted to. I always remained motivated because I knew that if I worked hard enough to be the best that I could be, I could not be denied. I knew that my family, friends and hometown were all looking for me to do big things and I expected big things of myself. I didn't want to let anyone down.
PhoenixMercury.com: Because of how hard you’ve worked to get here, you’ve been called an inspiration by many people. Talk about your drive to always get better.
No matter what I have encountered throughout my basketball journey, I have never given up. I had coaches, fans, friends and even family members doubt me.
But I never gave up on my dream because I always believed in myself. I overcame all of the negativity to be where I am today.
PhoenixMercury.com: How would you describe your game in your own words?
James: Hard. I can never tell you how many points I'll have, how many assists, rebounds or steals but the one thing that I can promise that you’ll always see in my game is me going hard. Every loose ball, every defensive play, every rebound, every second that I am out there I give 100 percent of what I have.
PhoenixMercury.com: How has the reception by Mercury fans been so far?
James: Outstanding. They've accepted me and welcomed me right in. I am happy to be here.
PhoenixMercury.com: Fill in the blank: Playing for the Mercury has been _____________.
An amazing experience. Everything I’ve dreamed of and more.
PhoenixMercury.com: What’s the No. 1 most played song on your iPod?
James: “My Moment” by DJ Drama
PhoenixMercury.com: What is one of your favorite quotes?
James: "All faith, no fear."
PhoenixMercury.com: Favorite movie?
James: A Christmas Story
PhoenixMercury.com: Favorite TV show?
James: Law and Order: SVU
PhoenixMercury.com: What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
James: Making it to the WNBA. There are only 132 people in this league so this is not an easy task.
PhoenixMercury.com: What was the last experience you went through that made you a stronger person?
James: Getting cut from the WNBA two months ago. It was the first time in my life that I had ever been cut from a team. It made me hungrier to be a better player. The second thing it did was teach me to never take playing the game of basketball for granted. But the most important thing it did was strengthen my faith. I learned to let go, lean on God, have faith, and understand that he has better plans for me than I could ever have for myself.
PhoenixMercury.com: When was the last time you had an amazing meal?
James: Just a couple nights ago. I cooked baked BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, broccoli, macaroni and cheese and wheat rolls.
PhoenixMercury.com: What’s the best or worst gift you’ve ever received or given?
James: The worst gift I’ve probably ever received is socks [laughs]. And there’s no such thing as a bad gift from me – I’m a good gift-giver! My parents consider my college diploma to be the greatest gift they've ever received from me.