Old Dominion's James honors fallen on field

LaMareon James Old Dominion
Posted at 10:13 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 20:52:20-04

NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- LaMareon James has dealt with his fair share of adversity. It hasn't broken him.

This coming season, James will take the field for his sophomore campaign, missing a piece of his soul. One of his best friends, Janiah Mullen, passed away this past February. Mullen was a local photographer and artist and James said she passed away of a brain condition. The Monarch defensive back remembers where she would stand in S.B. Ballard Stadium to photograph him during games and offer her support.

"Her passing away just put a big hole in my heart," James said. "I miss her, but I know she's up there watching me, so I'm going to keep doing it for her."

James is no stranger to grieving. He's unfortunately become familiar with loss, estimating that about 20 people close to him have passed away during his young life, be it through health issues or violence. His arm is decorated with the names of those who have died, a canvas to honor the fallen. He uses the football field in much the same way.

"Every time something happened to one of my friends, I [tattoo] their name on my arm and I just look at it everyday when I wake up," James said of honoring his loved ones. "I just know that I'm doing it for them and not just myself."

The defensive back has made a lot of people proud during his young college football career, making a big impact on special teams. 2021 saw him return two kickoffs for touchdowns, including a 100-yard house call to open the Myrtle Beach Bowl back in December.

"People always knew me as a good football player," he pointed out. "This time, me scoring those touchdowns, it made it national for everyone to see me."

The best days for James are still in front of him. He's fueled the memory of those who are no longer here and that helps him push his limits, both now and long after his football days are behind him.

"I just go out there and play for them and it helps me a lot, it helps me focus," James said. "I plan to go a long way in life, being a great man, not just football because football is not going to be here forever."