James Worthy

James Worthy


2/27/1961, Gastonia, North Carolina

Birth Name

James Ager Worthy


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Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Jerry West: James was an impossible matchup. Put a smaller guy on him and he'd go over him. Put a taller guy on him and he'd go around him. Put a smaller, quicker guy on him and he'd still go around him. That was his special skill.

    • Pat Riley: I don't think there has been or will be a better small forward than James. He was always such a quiet guy. But when he was in his prime, I can guarantee you, there wasn't anybody who could touch him.

    • Angela Wilder: (James' ex-wife and mother of their two daughters) He's a great dad. James is a very good guy. He really is.

    • He became the sixth player in Lakers history to have his jersey retired when on December 10, 1995, his #42 was retired.

    • He worked for CBS Sports as a color commentator for the 1999, 2000 and 2001 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournaments. In 1999 he worked six games with play-by-play man Tim Brando; in 2000 he worked nine games with play-by-play man Dick Enberg and in 2001 he worked six games with play-by-play man Craig Bolerjack.

    • In a 12-year NBA career, he compiled the following statistics:

      Games Played: 926
      Games Started: 717
      Field Goal Percentage: 52.1% (6,878 of 13,204)
      Three-Point Field Goal Percentage: 24.1% (117 of 486)
      Free Throw Percentage: 76.9% (2,447 of 3,184)
      Rebounds: 4,708 (3,147 defensive & 1,561 offensive)
      Rebounds per game: 5.1
      Assists: 2,791 (3.0/game)
      Steals: 1,041 (1.1/game)
      Blocked Shots: 624 (0.7/game)
      Turnovers: 1,859 (2.0/game)
      Personal Fouls: 1,975 (2.1/game)
      Points: 16,320 (17.6/game)

    • He was known for his trademark goggles, which he began wearing after sustaining an eye injury in a March 1985 game against the Utah Jazz. He wore the goggles for the remainder of his career.

    • He was married to Angela Wilder from 1984 to 1996. They have two daughters, Sable and Sierra.

    • He was given the nickname "Big Game James" by longtime Lakers play-by-play man Chick Hearn.

    • He attended the University of North Carolina for three years. He turned pro in 1982 after his junior year in which the Tar Heels won the National Championship. He later completed his degree via summer school. He was names the Most Outstanding Player of the 1982 Final Four.

    • He was drafted with the first overall pick by the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers in 1982.

    • He went to Ashbrook High School in Gastonia, NC, where he was an All-American. In his senior year he averaged 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game and led his team to the state championship game, which they lost.

    • He is listed at 6 foot 9 and 225 lbs.

    • He played alongside Magic Johnson on the Lakers.

    • He played for the Los Angeles Lakers his entire career.

    • Was named one of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996).

    • He was a seven-time NBA All-Star (1986-92)

    • He was on the NBA All-Rookie Team (1983)

    • He was All-NBA Third Team (1990, '91).

    • He was the NBA Finals MVP (1988).

    • He won 3 NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. (1985, '87, '88).

    • He was elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2003)

    • His career lasted from 1982-1994.

  • Quotes

    • (on why he chose to attend the university of North Carolina)
      James: [UNC Coach Dean Smith] talked to my parents and promised two things; I would go to class and I had to go to church unless I had a letter from my parents. From that point I knew I wanted to play for Coach Smith.

    • James: The young guys, with the exception of Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], really didn't understand that rivalry that the Celtics and the Lakers had back when the Celtics were dominating the league in the '60s and early '70s, ... It wasn't until Larry [Bird] and Magic [Johnson] faced off again that the whole history was conjured up and put on our shoulders, and it was an overwhelming experience for me. I grew up watching Jo-Jo White and Paul Silas, and respected those guys.

    • James: Hatred would be a strong word, ... We really respected each other. A lot of people didn't realize that the Lakers and the Celtics had the utmost respect for one another and probably feared each other the most. We knew we were equally talented and we knew that we balanced each other out on the floor, and there had to be an edge.

    • James: It seemed like the players were a little bit more loyal, ... I know there's a lot more financial enhancement going on in the game right now, but it seems like players were eager to build around their team [when he played], as opposed to two or three years here, then move on. I like the game the way it was back then. There was more parity in the league.

    • James: It wasn't hatred, ... It was playoffs, time to focus on the Celtics, and I'm not going to be friendly until maybe I see you in the Bahamas in July and August and maybe we can catch up. That's just the way it was.

    • James: I like the game the way it was, because there seemed to be a little more respect for your opponents and for your own teammates, ... The game was played, in my opinion, way differently - more as a team.

    • James: In going from sports to business, you can bring some of the same principles. There's a lot of correlation between the two worlds.

    • (on being inducted into the Hall of Fame)
      James: This is the ultimate. It is more than an honor to be amongst the Hall of Famers tonight.