The NBA Nation Player of the Week
Not only is he a Tar Heel and a memeber of my (childhood) team The LA Lakers,
He is Also My favorite player of ALL time!!
Worthy was an All-American high school player at Ashbrook High School, in Gastonia, North Carolina. Averaging 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in his senior year. After high school, Worthy attended the University of North Carolina, where he quickly became a stand-out basketball player and was a key member and leading scorer (15.6 points per game) of that school's 1982 NCAA championship team. This team also featured Sam Perkins and a freshman named Michael Jordan. The 1982 championship game against the Georgetown Hoyas is notable for the shot that Michael Jordan hit in the final seconds to give North Carolina the lead. On Georgetown's subsequent possession, however, Worthy stole the ball from Fred Brown to seal the Tar Heels' 63-62 victory. Worthy scored 28 points in the game, on 13-18 shooting from the field, to earn Most Outstanding Player honors.
Worthy was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers as the first overall pick of the 1982 NBA Draft and immediately made an impact as a rookie, averaging 13.4 points per game on a Laker rookie record .579 field goal percentage. He was also named to the 1983 All-Rookie First Team. Worthy contributed to three NBA championships in 1985, 1987, and 1988, leading the team in playoff scoring in both the '87 and '88 campaigns. He led the Lakers in regular season scoring in both the 1990-91 and 1991-92 seasons and was a seven-time NBA All-Star. Worthy thrived in the Laker's fastbreak style with his speed and his dynamic scoring ability capitalized on Magic Johnson's crisp passing. Beyond his ability to finish a break with his trademark Statue of Liberty dunks, Worthy was one of the best baseline post players at the small forward position, with a brilliant spin move and a deadly turnaround jumpshot. Although lesser known than teammates Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson, he is regarded as an important part of the Lakers' success. Worthy is best known for his clutch play-off performances. His 28 points and 9 rebounds in Game 6 and 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists in Game 7 of the 1988 NBA Finals earned him the Most Valuable Player award. After the sudden retirement of Magic in November of 1991, Worthy played for 3 more seasons. Injuries and mileage caught up with "Big Game", as an ankle injury in the 1991 Play-Offs and a knee surgery in 1992 that cut his season short, robbed Worthy of much of his quickness and leaping ability. Worthy announced his retirement in November of 1994, after 12 seasons in the NBA.
Nicknamed by longtime Lakers play-by-play man Chick Hearn as "Big Game James," Worthy played in 926 NBA games, averaged 17.6 points per game (21.1 points per playoff game). He ranks 5th all-time in team scoring (16,320), 2nd all-time in team steals (1,041), and 6th all-time in team field goal percentage (.521). Worthy had a .544 field goal percentage in the play-offs. Voted one of the top 50 NBA players of all time in 1996, Worthy was not a first-ballot inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. However, he was later inducted into the Hall in 2003. His jersey (#42) is only one of seven retired by the Los Angeles Lakers, alongside Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
- All-NBA Third Team twice (1990, '91)
- NBA All-Rookie Team (1983) as he averaged 13.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game
- NBA Finals MVP (1988)
- NBA All-Star seven times (1986-92)
- All-time record for highest field goal percentage in a five-game series (.721) (1985)
- Highest field goal percentage for a rookie in Laker history (.579)
- Averaged 17.6 ppg and 5.1 rpg and 3.0 apg in 926 career games; averaged 21.1 ppg and 5.2 rpg in 143 career playoff games
- In Laker history, he is fifth in scoring (16,320 points), second in steals (1,041) and sixth in field goal percentage (.521)
- Retired as the 54th leading scorer in NBA history with 16,320 points
- One of seven Lakers to have his number (#42) retired
-- ok Back to me
What made him my favorite player?
First- I don;t have an NBA team at the time and the MVP of my Champion College team gets drafted- a homer is born
Second- You have a player that never quits on D- and even in the Finals has to guard Larry Legend on the biggest stage of all - and yet he wins more than he loses vs Bird
Third- Transition offence just cutting to the basket and Magic finds him with grace and ease he floats up and lays the Ball off the Glass- why the layup when everyone else is dunking? Because he missed a Dunk at UNC and almost cost the Heels a game- and Dean made the entire team do layup drills- he kept doing them after practice and found he never missed a layup- whereas missed dunks happen almost every game - (now shown almost every night on ESPN today)
Current Player most like him - Josh Howard
Howard is not quite the warrior of Big Game James yet- but his style of play and work on the defensive end might allow him and Dallas to reach the finals. he's a bit shorter but seems to be a "worthy" successor to James Worthy
(you knew it was coming)