James Worthy Nickname Big Game James
February 23, 2012 by staff
James Worthy Nickname Big Game James, James Worthy, nickname Big Game James-James Ager Worthy (born February 27, 1961) is a retired Hall of Fame American college and professional basketball player. Named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, “Big Game James” was a seven-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA champion.
A standout for the North Carolina Tar Heels, the 6 ft 9 in (2.05 m) small forward was the MOP of the 1982 NCAA Tournament and #1 pick of the 1982 NBA Draft. He was born in Gastonia, North Carolina. Worthy was an All-American high school basketball player at Ashbrook High School in Gastonia. Worthy averaged 21.5
points and 12.5 rebounds during his senior season, for a team that lost in the state championship game. Never was a nickname better suited to a player than James Worthy’s moniker, “Big Game James.” By the time he retired, Worthy owned a Most Outstanding Player Award from the 1982 NCAA Final Four and an MVP Award from the 1988 NBA Finals, he was a member of three NBA championship teams with the Los Angeles Lakers (in 1985, 1987, and 1988), and his career postseason averages of 21.1
points and 5.2 rebounds per game were higher than his regular-season averages of 17.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest.
In the NBA draft, Worthy was chosen first overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. Shrewd and opportunistic trade moves made by the Lakers front office, combined with a coin flip victory against the then-San Diego Clippers the year before provided them with the first overall pick, the year after winning the NBA Championship. Worthy immediately made an impact as a rookie, averaging 13.4 points per game and shooting a Laker rookie record .579 field goal percentage.
He was also named to the 1983 All-Rookie First Team. Worthy thrived in the Laker’s fastbreak style with his speed and his dynamic ability to score with either hand and play above the rim. Beyond just finishing a fastbreak with his trademark Statue of Liberty dunks or swooping finger rolls, Worthy was also one of the best baseline post players at the small forward position, with a quick spin move and a deadly turnaround jumpshot.
Unfortunately, his rookie year ended on a down note as Worthy broke his leg after coming down awkwardly from a jumpball in one of the last regular season games of the year. 1985 saw a Laker team that was on a mission of redemption; it was during the play-off run to winning the championship that year that Worthy took a big step forward as a clutch performer. Worthy averaged 21.5 points per game on 62.2% shooting in the playoffs, and it was his inspired play against the Celtics (23.7 points per game in the Finals) that further established Worthy as one of the league’s premier players. It was also in 1985, after sustaining an eye injury against the Utah Jazz in March, that Worthy was forced to wear goggles. He wore protective eyewear for the rest of his career.
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