One of the all-time EuroLeague scoring leaders, Mike James, made it to the Final Four for only the second time in his career.

Credit: EuroLeague Basketball via GettyImages
Credit EuroLeague Basketball via GettyImages

Never take anything for granted, even if you're on your path to becoming one of the greatest EuroLeague players of all time like Mike James.

Free throws this season

Points made: 17,6
Accuracy: 75,5%
Place in standings: 2
Record max: 31
Record min: 7
Most made FTs: Mike James

In 2016, Mike James, playing for Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz, faced off against Fenerbahce Istanbul in a dramatic Final Four overtime, resulting in a 77-88 semifinal loss.

In the fourth quarter, Laboral Kutxa had a 7-point lead, and with just 105 seconds left to play, they were still ahead by 4 points.

However, Fenerbahce forced overtime and won the game, leaving Vitoria without a spot in the finals.

That night, James scored 6 points in 31 minutes of play, shooting 3 for 11 from the field, and made five assists.

"Just not closing out the game. We had an opportunity to win and we just didn't close it out like we should of. So just that, really," Mike James shared his biggest regret of the 2016 Final Four with BasketNews. "If you have a big lead, you just have to seize the moment and close it out."

Back then, it seemed like James, who was only 25 at the time, had it all ahead of him.

The American finished his second season in the EuroLeague, where he had already showcased his 27-point performance against Real Madrid and a 20-point showing with Panathinaikos Athens.

Now, James ranks 4th in total EuroLeague points scored (3903) all-time, 7th in efficiency rating (3947), and 10th in total assists (1083).

However, it took seven years for him to return to an elite company of EuroLeague teams.

To this day, he has played 241 EuroLeague games without winning the title. He's one of the few guys in the league that are on the longest title drought.

What advice would he give to those US players who come to the EuroLeague, maybe even making it to the Final Four early on?

"I guess you never know what can happen. I've been on many great teams. But due to various circumstances like unfortunate playoff matchups, COVID, or other factors, you may not get the chance to play in the Final Four and showcase your abilities. So, don't take anything for granted," James pointed out. "You never know what can happen in life, not just in basketball. Don't take anything for granted and seize every opportunity that comes your way."

If Mike James had the chance to give advice to his 25-year-old self back in 2016, during his first Final Four experience, the advice would be simple.

"Keep being you. Believe in yourself. And keep working hard."

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Mike James

Mike  James
Mike  James
MIN: 30.98
PTS: 16.25 (49.78%)
REB: 3.86
As: 4.61
ST: 0.97
BL: 0.03
TO: 2.25
GM: 36