When the Memphis Grizzlies visited the Mavericks on Saturday night, it was a homecoming for CJ Miles. The Dallas native, who played for J.D. Mayo at Skyline High School, is in his 14th season in professional basketball.
The former Raider hoops standout went directly from high school to the NBA in 2005. The Utah Jazz selected him early in the second round -- this was before the NBA had an age limit. But just because Miles was able to enter the league at 18 years old, he said he faced other challenges.
"What to do with all the time," Miles said. "You know you can't spend every second in the gym, and you get kind of lonely, your parents coming back and forth, I got a couple friends here and there, but I mean the biggest thing was figuring out how to be a grown up that fast."
Connecting you to your favorite North Texas sports teams as well as sports news around the globe.
Life in the NBA hasn't always been a slam dunk for Miles. After he spent his first seven seasons in Utah, he's now with his fifth NBA team. His current head coach marvels at the "miles" put on those sneakers.
"We were laughing about it," Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "This is his 14th year and he's only 31 years old. That's unbelievable when you think about it."
So what's the secret to Miles' longevity in the NBA?
"No secrets," Miles said. "Just every summer trying to stay in shape, do the best things I can to take care of my body and working hard during the season, being willing to do whatever it takes to help my team."
But Miles pointed out that the route he took to the NBA isn't for everyone.
"A lot of kids now physically can be ready, but the mental side is the bigger side of it," Miles said. "I think you can be physically gifted as anybody in this league, but mentally if you can't put yourself together, there's two games -- on the floor and off the floor. You can't take care of the off the floor stuff, it's going to hurt everything on the floor and you'll eventually fizzle out."
Miles has certainly handled both on and off the court challenges well. His head coach said Miles' personality, character, and willingness to work have been crucial.
"He found his niche early in his career and he was able to count on that and bank on that," Bickerstaff said.
Miles scored 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting in the Grizzlies' 111-81 win over the Mavericks.