James Singleton’s NBA career wasn’t the most memorable but he did have a long-lasting basketball career. Even though most of his success happened during his college years and overseas, he still achieved every basketball player’s dream of making it to the NBA.
Singleton missed out on most of his freshman season at Pearl River Community College due to a torn ACL but he bounced back the following year in a big way.
Singleton averaged 13.8 points per game (PPG) and 13.9 rebounds per game (RPG) in his sophomore season. He had a 10-game streak where he put up a double-double in each game. Singleton helped lead Pearl River to the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) South Division championship. He was honored for his impressive bounce-back season by being named to the MACJC All-State team and the All-Region XXIII squad.
The following year, Singleton transferred over to Murray State University and joined their men’s basketball team. In his first year at Murray state Singleton started in 25 of the 31 games played that season. He averaged 12.2 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.2 assists per game (APG), 1.1 steals per game (SPG), and 2.0 blocks per game (BPG) in his junior year. MSU finished third in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) with a 10-6 record and qualified for the NCAA tournament. The Racers entered March Madness as the 14th seed in the East Region, unfortunately for them, they were eliminated in the first round of the tournament by the third seed, the University of Georgia. Murray State finished their season with a winning record of 19-13. Singleton was named to the All-Ohio Valley Conference second-team at the season’s end.
Singleton started in all but one game his senior year. He improved all parts of his game as he put up 14.9 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 1.8 BPG in his final year at Murray State. MSU finished fourth in the conference with a 9-7 winning record but it wasn’t enough to help them qualify for the NCAA tournament. The Racers finished their 2002-03 season with a 17-12 record. A stellar senior season earned Singleton a spot on the All-Ohio Valley Conference first-team.
After going undrafted in the 2003 NBA Draft, Singleton began his professional basketball career overseas playing for Sicc Jesi of the Lega Nazionale Pallacanestro (LNP). As part of Sicc Jesi, Singleton played in the Lega2, the Italian league’s second-tier division. He averaged 13.3 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 0.8 APG, 2.4 SPG, and 1.3 BPG in 32 games played. Singleton helped lead Jesi to the Lega2 championship. In addition to winning the Lega2 championship, Singleton earned many other awards and honors. He was named Lega2 Import of the Year, Forward of the Year, and Player of the Year.
The following season he joined Olimpia Milano of the Italian Serie A division. Singleton averaged 12.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 0.6 APG, 1.8 SPG, and 0.9 BPG in 34 appearances with the team. Milano made it all the way to the finals where they lost the series 3-1 to Climamio Bologna. To cap off another successful season for Singleton, he was named an Italian League All-Star and won the Italian League All-Star Game MVP award.
Welcome to the NBA
On August 30, 2005, Singleton signed a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Singleton played two years with the Clippers, where he primarily came off the bench for them, only starting in 10 of his 119 games with the team. In his two years with LA, Singleton averaged 2.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.3 SPG, and 0.3 BPG. The Clippers made the playoffs in Singleton’s first year with the team as the sixth seed with a 47-35 record. LA defeated the Denver Nuggets in five games before they themselves got eliminated by the Phoenix Suns in seven games. The Clippers missed out on the playoffs by two games the following year, finishing ninth in the conference with a record of 40-42. Singleton averaged 0.3 PPG, 0.4 RPG, and 0.3 APG in seven games, all off the bench.
Brief Return Overseas
During the 2007-08 season, Singleton joined TAU Cerámica of the Asociación de Clubes Españoles de Baloncesto. In eight games with the team, Singleton averaged 3.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 0.5 APG, 0.4 SPG, and 1.0 BPG. TAU Cerámica swept FC Barcelona in the ACB Playoff Finals and won the ACB championship.
Joining the Mavericks
During the 2008 offseason, Singleton signed a deal to join the Dallas Mavericks. He got the opportunity to start in six of his 62 games played throughout the season. In his first year with the Mavs, Singleton averaged 5.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.4 SPG, and 0.5 BPG. Dallas finished their season 50-32, good enough to clinch the sixth seed in the Western Conference. In the first round of the playoffs, the Mavericks defeated their rivals, the San Antonio Spurs in five games. In the Western Conference Semifinals, the Mavs lost to the Nuggets in six games and ended their playoff journey. In the playoffs, Singleton averaged 1.3 PPG, 0.7 RPG, and 0.1 BPG all while coming off the bench in all nine of his appearances.
The following season, Singleton started the season with the Mavericks but he wouldn’t finish it with them. He averaged 2.4 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.4 SPG, and 0.3 BPG in 25 games with the team. In February 2010, his time in Dallas came to an end.
Between the NBA and Overseas
Halfway through the season, Singleton was traded to the Washington Wizards. He took part in 32 games with the Wizards to finish off the season. In his half-season with the team, he averaged 6.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, and 1.1 BPG while getting the start in three games. Washington finished the season 14th in their conference with a 26-56 record.
In late 2010, Singleton signed with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). He put up 21.6 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 1.4 BPG in 31 games played. Singleton also helped lead the Flying Tigers to the CBA Finals.
He joined the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the CBA for the 2011-12 season. He averaged 17.7 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.4 SPG, and 1.1 BPG in 32 games. For the second year in a row, Singleton helped lead a team to the CBA Finals.
After the CBA season finished he returned to the Wizards on a 10-day contract before signing for the rest of the season with the team. He played in 12 games at the end of the 2011-12 season. In his 12 appearances with the team, Singleton averaged 8.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, and 0.7 BPG. The Wizards again finished 14th in the East, this time with a 20-46 record.
The 2011-12 season was Singleton’s final season in the NBA as a player.
In one and a half years with the Mavericks he played a small role on a winning team. He averaged 4.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.4 SPG, and 0.4 BPG during his time in Dallas.
Final Years Playing Basketball
Singleton spent the final years of his basketball career playing overseas.
In late 2012, he returned to the Flying Tigers. In 13 games with the team, he put up 16.5 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.2 SPG, and 0.6 BPG.
The following season, he played 34 games with the Flying Tigers where he averaged 19.5 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, and 0.9 BPG.
Singleton then took some time off when his son was born.
On January 29, 2015, he was acquired by the Canton Charge, the Cleveland Cavalier’s G League team.
Less than four months after joining the Charge, he signed with los Guaros de Lara, a Venezuelan professional basketball team that plays in the Liga Profesional de Baloncesto (LPB).
In August 2015, Singleton signed with Bnei Herzliya of the Israeli Basketball Premier League.
A year later he signed with Maccabi Kiryat Gat, another Israeli basketball team.
In December 2016, Singleton signed with his final basketball team, the Seoul SK Knights, a Korean Basketball League team.
In 2017, SIngleton joined the Austin Spurs, the San Antonio Spurs G League team, as an assistant coach. In his first year as a coach on the team, the Spurs finished the regular season first in their division with a 32-18 record. They advanced to the G League Finals where they swept the Toronto Raptors’ G League team, the Raptors 905, in two games.
The following season the Raptors 905 finished third in their division with a 19-30 and missed out on the G League playoffs.
The team’s bad luck continued in the 2019-20 season as they finished fourth in the Western Conference with a 24-18 record but the rest of the season and playoffs were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the 2020-21 season, the Spurs finished fourth again in their conference, this time with a 10-5 record. They qualified for the playoffs but lost in the first round to the Philadelphia 76ers G League team, the Delaware Blue Coats. 2021 was Singleton’s final year as a Spurs assistant coach.
He then joined Marcus High School in Flower Mound, TX as a varsity assistant coach for the boy’s basketball team.
Singleton is married to his wife, Amanda. The couple has a daughter, Blake, and two sons, Sebastian and Dax.
In 2018, Singleton was entered into the Pearl River Community College Hall of Fame.
Singleton had much success in college and overseas, winning numerous awards and honors during those times in his life. His time in the NBA wasn’t as memorable or successful but he did play five years in the league with gaps in between his NBA tenures, which is still an achievement to be proud of. Even though his time in Dallas wasn’t very long, he always did what was asked of him and cemented himself as a small part of Mavs and NBA history.