James Hamlett, a retired master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, says he can still remember his son Arthur running around the house pretending to be Michael Jordan or Allen Iverson. But the basketball stars weren’t his only idols. To this day the most important man in his life is his dad. And growing up in a military family, Arthur has seen how his Dad’s experience in the Air Force has shaped his life. “it’s really great. I’ve actually thought about going into the air force because he’s such a great man because of being in the Air Force. Being disciplined like he is.”
And that discipline is something he’s handed down to his kids. His two oldest are Staff Sergeants in the Air Force themselves. And Arthur, a rising senior and the floor general for Burkburnett’s varsity basketball team, says when his dad was deployed for 9 months in Iraq, basketball helped him cope with his dad being gone. “it was something that could kind of fill that void of him not being there. It kept me busy. It kept my mind off of him not being there. When he got back he was back. And that was great.”
And now that James Hamlett is retired from the air force, he has more time to watch Arthur play. An official himself, when he’s on the court he’s neutral, but when he’s a fan at his son’s games?, “whenever i get to watch it’s almost like a championship game for me. I almost can’t believe i’m there. As an official you can’t really run off at the mouth but as a fan you get to talk a lot more. Sometimes my wife sits up there and gives me the nudge. But it’s all good.”
And when his dad is able to be at his games, “it really means a lot. I don’t know if he knows it or not but i really appreciate it. Every time he comes to my games i appreciate it. Whether it’s summer league, pick up games, or a real game. It doesn’t really matter. I just want him to be there.
And you can bet if you look in the crowd at next year’s Burk games…Retired Master Sergeant James Hamlett will be there and cheering as loud as ever.
After graduating from Burkburnett, Arthur furthered his education at Mountain View Community College and Vernon College before getting a personal trainer certification. He now works at Gold’s Gym and says “seeing people making changes in their lives through fitness to become healthier and better versions of themselves is amazing.”
James continues to officiate high school basketball and serves as a substitute teacher in the Wichita Falls school district. He also conducts health surveys for the U.S. Census Bureau.