His name is James.
He is American, a basketball player and played in the NBA.
No, we're not talking about LeBron here, who remains a Los Angeles Lakers player.
The one who joins AS Monaco this Friday is called Mike James.
The 31-year-old point guard comes straight from Brooklyn and the Nets.
A few months ago, he was still playing with Kevin Durant, the (triple) Olympic champion who won the Blues this summer in Tokyo.
Yes and so ? Another former NBA in the French Championship renamed this season "Betclic Élite"? Yes, but not only because with this James, Monaco breaks his piggy bank and offers him the highest salary ever offered for a basketball player in France. For James, we are talking about a salary of 1.4 M € net over the 9 months of the season, i.e. around 155,000 € per month, whereas until then, the highest incomes in the French championship (Guerschon Yabusele, Moustapha Fall, Charles Kahudi at Asvel) earned € 300,000 per year last season, or € 25,000 per month net. For James, it's five times more.
✍️ 𝗠𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗝𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀 chose AS Monaco Basket!
💣 The point guard 🇺🇸 (1.85m, 31), one of the very best @ EuroLeague players and scorers of recent years, comes out of a successful @NBA freelance last spring with @BrooklynNets ✔️
👋 𝙒𝙚𝙡𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚 @ TheNatural_05 🇲🇨 pic.twitter.com/4dfvh8MA5U
- AS Monaco Basket (@ASMonaco_Basket) September 17, 2021
So why such an amount spent for this player?
Because AS Monaco is owned by a Ukrainian billionaire Sergei Dyadechko who can afford it.
Winner of the Eurocup in the spring, the principality's club is playing in the Euroleague and the Basketball Champions League this season and wants to look good.
The Euroleague is a competition contested in the form of a championship in parallel with that in France which requires playing more than 50 matches for the teams that go to the final.
Better to have a lot of (good) players to combine the two competitions.
Mike James always said he wanted to come to Monaco.
He declared in 2020: “I would like to play in Monaco.
Heard it's a beautiful place!
I know they're not in the Euroleague but maybe I'll go there to finish my career, when I'm not as good as I am today.
Fans will appreciate the last words.
Mike James is especially not a player like the others. Passed by Phoenix, New Orleans and Brooklyn, he did not leave an unforgettable mark in the NBA. But he is a star of the game in Europe and especially in the Euroleague where he was the top scorer during the 2018-2019 season. Coveted this summer by the Lakers to strengthen their bench, James has played in some of the biggest clubs on the continent: Panathinaikos that Monaco will face on October 30, Milan and CSKA Moscow. With the Russian team at the start of last season, the pocket leader (1.85m) was around 20 points on average. In Monaco, James will play in the lead with Frenchman Leo Westermann back in France after 6 seasons abroad. On paper, the team holds up and Monaco should hurt.
Big concern, however, Mike James has the reputation of having a pig character and being totally unmanageable. CSKA Moscow fired him earlier this year for incompatible moods. James took the opportunity to do a freelance in the great suburbs of New York. For his coming to the Rock to be a success, he will have to get on with another very strong character: Roca Team coach Zvezdan Mitrovic. And that is not won.