‘‘Just having two kids of my own, in elementary, I could not imagine sending them off to school and them not returning,’’ James said.
Haslem has three sons, and said he tried telling his oldest boy that ‘‘things happen in this world that we have no control over.’’
He’s all-too-familiar with the grieving process, having lost close friends and relatives over the years. Still, Haslem insisted that he cannot comprehend what the families in Newtown feel, especially with this all happening so close to Christmas.
‘‘You take it one day at a time. You’re never going to forget about it. Time heals the wounds, slowly,’’ Haslem said. ‘‘I still grieve over my friends. I still grieve over my family members I've lost. Slowly, slowly, it gets a little bit — not a lot — but a little bit easier.
‘‘We love the money, we love the fame, we love the sport, but at the end of the day, we do this for our kids and the legacy to give them things you never had,’’ Haslem said. ‘‘If it was about us, a lot of us would have retired after our first contract. You do this for your kids. Your kids are everything. My three kids are my heart. I just imagine someone taking my heart away from me. Might as well kill me.’’
AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak Jr. in New York contributed to this report.