James Posey, whose full name is James Mikely Mantell Posey, Jr. was born on January 13, 1977 in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended Chamberlin High School in Twinsburg, Ohio and played basketball there. Posey attended Xavier University. He sat out his freshman year to become academically eligible. He wore No. 42 in high school but was given 41 at Xavier because 42 was retired for Tyrone Hill. He averaged 15.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.15 steals and 1.7 assists while shooting 52.7 percent from the floor, 32.9 percent from three-point range and 80.8 percent from the foul line in 95 games during his three seasons at Xavier and he led his team in rebounding in each of his three seasons.
Posey was selected out of Xavier University by the Denver Nuggets with the 18th pick of the 1999 NBA Draft. He played a little over three seasons with the team before being sent to the Houston Rockets in December of 2002. After finishing the season with the Rockets, he signed with the Memphis Grizzlies as a free agent in the 2003 off-season. He started all 82 games for the Grizzlies in the '03-'04 season and averaged a career-high 13.7 points with 4.9 rebounds and was considered by some to be the team's most valuable player. In the '04-'05 season, he struggled with injuries and conditioning and appeared in only 50 games with only 18 starts.
Posey was connected to the Celtics in August of 2005 when he was was involved in the largest trade in NBA history, which involved 13 players and five different teams. Through this trade, the Miami Heat acquired Posey, Jason Williams, Antoine Walker, Andre Emmett, and the draft rights to Roberto Duenas. The Memphis Grizzlies received Eddie Jones and Raul Lopez. Boston, who dealt Walker to the Heat, received a package that included Qyntel Woods, the draft rights to Albert Miralles, Curtis Borchardt, two second-round draft picks, and cash. Utah acquires Greg Ostertag, and the New Orleans Hornets acquired Rasual Butler and Kirk Snyder.
In 2005-'06, Posey averaged 7.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game with the Heat. He was somewhat disappointing during the regular season, but in the playoffs, he more than made up for it. He was switched to the Heat's sixth man and was able to average 11.8 points per game on 48.8 shooting against the Chicago Bulls in the first round. Against the New Jersey Nets in the second round, Posey's defense made a difference as he was given the task to guard Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson. Although Posey's scoring dropped, his defense was said to have been the key to the Heat's advancement into the conference finals.
In the conference finals against the Pistons, Posey's defense once again made a big difference as he was called upon to guard Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and even sometimes Chauncey Billups or Rasheed Wallace. In the finals against Dallas Posey was again a key factor on both ends of the court. Defensively, he provided tough defense on Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard. On the offensive end, Posey was also key in knocking down shots when Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal were double-teamed.
Last season with the Heat, Posey played in 67 games and averaged 7.7 points and 5.0 rebounds during the regular season, but the season was not without controversy. He was suspended by Pat Riley, along with Antoine Walker, for not meeting the fitness goals of the team. According to Posey, he had 9% body fat instead of the 8% that the team required but it may have been more attitude than conditioning (see quote below). On April 9, 2007, Posey was arrested on a DUI charge. According to reports, he had stopped his car on a double-lane Miami Beach road and was talking to occupants of other vehicles and pedestrians. The report said that once out of the car, Posey displayed bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. The report also said that Posey was unsteady on his feet and swayed while standing. Posey issued this
"Please know that I was neither intoxicated nor was I driving at the time," Posey said. "However, out of respect to the police, and to the legal process which must follow, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this moment."
Vivek Wallace who covers the Heat for Crazy from the Heat, was kind enough to send his thoughts on Posey from the perspective of a Heat fan.
When he's focused, there aren't many tier two players - meaning aside from the Kobe's, The Wade's, the LeBron's, etc. - who can contribute more to a team. The cool thing about Posey is that he does just enough to lift his team which allows him to fly under the radar so to speak. If the team needs rebounds, he's snatching them all night long. If his team needs timely 3pt'ers, he's draining them all night long. If his team needs effort and hustle plays, he's diving for the loose balls all night long. Trouble with Posey is, (and this is where he fell out of grace with Riley in Miami), he doesn't bring that type of effort on a nightly basis. He was huge in the Postseason run when we won it all down here in Miami, but more often than not, he simply didn't show up most nights. People need to realize that Riley is a master motivator, and even he couldn't get through to Posey - and that was with the help of Shaq, Zo, Payton, etc. So if Riles was willing to put such a potentially great defender (which is always a top priority of his) on the backburner with negotiations, one has to truly wonder what it's gonna be like in a city like Bean-town where it could be a classic situation of too many great's, and only one ball on the court. I like Doc Rivers but to put it bluntly, I think only a Phil Jackson could get so many personalities and superstars to gel down the stretch, as well as execute an effective game plan. Bottom line, Posey at some point may feel a bit lost in the shuffle and begin to mentally wonder off. That tendency got him suspended along with Antione Walker for a few games in Miami...It was blamed on conditioning but inside sources were very accurate in saying it was more attitude.
Posey has been involved in several controversial incidents with the Chicago Bulls over his 2 seasons with the Heat. In the first round of the 2006 playoffs, Kirk Hinrich was dribbling down the court when Posey hit him with a hard shoulder block knocking Hinrich down to the floor. Posey was called for a flagrant 2 foul and was ejected from the game and suspended for the following game. When asked about the shot to Hinrich, Posey responded, "I was just trying to get back on defense and cut the ball off." "He didn't see me and that's how collisons happen. That's all it was." You can judge for yourself in the video below.
In the season opener of the 2006-07 NBA season, Bulls rookie Tyrus Thomas was going for a rebound and was hit in the face by Posey which lead to Thomas having his nose broken and missing a few games. In yet a third incident in a December game with the Bulls, Luol Deng was going for a layup and was clotheslined by Posey. Posey was again called for a flagrant 2 foul, ejected from the game and suspended for 1 game as a result. You can see this play here:
Matt Bernhardt of BlogABull was kind enough to send his thoughts on Posey and these incidents from a Bulls perspective.
James Posey just seems to have it out for the Bulls. I'm not aware of any repeated incidents he's had with other teams, but with the Bulls there are at least 3 acts of on-court thuggery:
2006 playoffs: hipchecking Kirk Hinrich 06-07 opening night: breaking Tyrus Thomas' nose 06-07 midseason clobbering Luol Deng midair
Only the Thomas play could be considered borderline clean, the others were outright dirty. And enough of those get you labled a dirty player.
Such incidents can be written off (and even celebrated) as providing 'toughness' or 'intimidation' that benefits his own team, but I find such byproducts miniscule to non-existent. A far more tangible effect are the negative consequences through the flagrant foul penalties and suspensions. Posey is a decent player, so having him out of the game likely isn't worth whatever 'message' he was trying to send across.
And besides, the Bulls won each of those games, and were so scared and intimidated of James Posey and the Heat that they proceeeded to throttle them in a 4-game sweep in the 2007 playoffs.
Do those results have a lot to do with James Posey? Not really, it's a healthy Wade and Shaq that drove that Heat squad, as a healthy Garnett/Allen/Pierce will for the Celtics. But if Posey continues his antics, it won't lead to a brand of toughness for your team, it'll just mean one less available bench player for a team that needs all they can get.
On a personal level, Posey is the son of James Mikely Mantell Posey, Sr. and Rosetta Moore and he has an older sister, Lavon Moore. His cousin, Anthony Morgan played wide receiver in the NFL for the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. He graduated from Xavier with a degree in criminal justice and forensic science. He said that he chose his major because of the mental challenge and because it kept his attention…He would like to work in forensic science with the FBI following his playing career.
When not on the basketball court, he enjoys shooting pool and bowling and he maintains a 220 bowling average. His nicknames include Mike from his family and friends, Big Game James for his bowling and basketball prowess and The X Factor. He lists football as his favorite sport other than basketball and the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots as his favorite teams. His favorite baseball team is the Cleveland Indians. Martin is his favorite television show and Chris Tucker and Martin Lawrence are his favorite actors. He listens to rap, hip-hop and R&B and Jay Z, Biggie, Tupac and Game are his favorite artists.
We have two sides of the coin with Posey. On the one side, he will give us toughness and defense and a key player off the bench. On the other side, he may lack motivation and/or conditioning. Vivek mentions Doc as being the motivator, but on this team, I would think that KG is the motivator and isn't the type to put up with players not giving their all. Just being in a new situation may be enough to give him all the motivation he needs to play well consistently. New Jersey, Cleveland, and the Heat all wanted to sign Posey and he was very happy to sign with Boston because he saw this team as his best chance at a ring. Hopefully he will get one. [Discuss this topic on the Celtics Green Forums!]