James Worthy: Difference between revisions

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==College basketball career==
 
==College basketball career==
James Worthy was an All-American high school player at [[Ashbrook High School]], in Gastonia, North Carolina. Worthy averaged 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in his senior year, for a team that lost in the state championship game. Worthy went on to attend the University of North Carolina. 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 Men's Division I Basketball Tournament|1982 NCAA championship]] team. Worthy was also named to the Sporting News All-American First Team. The 1981-1982 North Carolina 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, Worthy intercepted a pass from the Hoya's point guard 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.
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James Worthy was an All-American high school player at [[Ashbrook High School]], in Gastonia, North Carolina and hated chinks. Worthy averaged 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in his senior year, for a team that lost in the state championship game. Worthy went on to attend the University of North Carolina. 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 Men's Division I Basketball Tournament|1982 NCAA championship]] team. Worthy was also named to the Sporting News All-American First Team. The 1981-1982 North Carolina 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, Worthy intercepted a pass from the Hoya's point guard 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.
   
 
==Professional basketball career==
 
==Professional basketball career==

Revision as of 21:32, 29 February 2008

Template:Infobox NBAretired James Ager Worthy (born February 27 1961 in Gastonia, North Carolina) is a retired American college and professional basketball player. Standing 6 ft 9 in (2.05 m), he played small forward.

College basketball career

James Worthy was an All-American high school player at Ashbrook High School, in Gastonia, North Carolina and hated chinks. Worthy averaged 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in his senior year, for a team that lost in the state championship game. Worthy went on to attend the University of North Carolina. 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. Worthy was also named to the Sporting News All-American First Team. The 1981-1982 North Carolina 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, Worthy intercepted a pass from the Hoya's point guard 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.

Professional basketball career

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. He averaged 13.4 points per game and shot 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 dynamic scoring ability. 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 tibula after coming down awkwardly from a jumpball in one of the last regular season games of the year.

Back and healthy for the opening of the 1983-1984 season, Worthy's effective play soon had him replacing Jamaal Wilkes in the starting line-up. The Lakers dominated throughout the Western Conference play-offs and faced the Boston Celtics in the finals. It was late in game 2 of the finals that Worthy made the now infamous mistake of throwing an errant crosscourt pass that was picked off by Celtic Gerald Henderson and taken in for the game tying score. Ultimately, the Lakers lost this game in overtime. The Lakers lost this series in seven games.

1985 saw a Laker team that was on a mission of redemption and 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 .622 percent shooting in the play-offs and it was his inspired play against the Celtics that further established Worthy as one of the league's premier up and coming players. It was also in 1985, that after sustaining an eye injury against the Utah Jazz in March, Worthy would begin wearing goggles. Worthy would go on to wear protective eyewear for the rest of his career.

The 1985-1986 season, although ending badly for the Lakers after a play-off flameout agains the Rockets, began the first of seven consecutive All-Star appearances for Worthy. The 1986-1987 Championship Laker team many regard as one of the NBA's all time great teams and Worthy was at the top of his game, averaging 23.6 points per game in the play-offs. 1987-1988 saw the Lakers pull off an incredible repeat championship and it was during the finals match-up against the Detroit Pistons that Worthy cemented his reputation as "Big Game James". By 1987-1988 it was clear the Kareem had to pick his spots and it was Magic, Worthy and Byron Scott that began to pick up the slack. Against the Pistons, Worthy more than picked up his share and provided 22 points per game 7.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists game in the series. 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.

Although of lesser renown than teammates Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson, Worthy is regarded as a key contributor to the three NBA championships of (1985, 1987, 1988) and the overall success of the Lakers 80s basketball dynasty. After the sudden retirement of Magic in November of 1991, Worthy played for 3 more seasons. Injuries and mileage caught up with "Big Game". An ankle injury during the 1991 Play-Offs and a season ending knee surgery in 1992 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, averaging 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Worthy played in 143 play-off games and averaged 21.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game and had a .544 field goal shooting percentage. He ranks 5th all-time in Lakers team scoring (16,320), 2nd all-time in team steals (1,041), and 6th all-time in team field goal percentage (.521). 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.

Current

As of 2008, Worthy works as an in-studio analyst for Laker game telecasts on KCAL television in Los Angeles, and for NBA and college basketball highlights on KCBS television, also in Los Angeles. He also has been senior vice president of RP & Associates, a marketing company in Hermosa Beach, California, since February of 2005. Worthy was married to Angela Wilder from 1984-1996 and they have two daughters, Sable and Sierra Worthy.

1990 police sting

In 1990, Worthy was arrested in Houston and charged with solicitation of prostitution. He was in the city with the Lakers for a game against the Houston Rockets. According to the police, prior to the game, Worthy called a local escort service and requested that two women be sent to meet him in his hotel room. Unbeknownst to Worthy, police had already shut down the escort service, and they instead sent two undercover vice squad officers to the hotel to meet him.[1] A month later, Worthy pleaded no contest to both charges. He was sentenced to one year of probation, fined $1,000 USD and ordered to perform 40 hours of community service.[1]

Trivia

Notes

External links

Preceded by
Julie Shea
ACC Athlete of the Year
1982
Succeeded by
Ralph Sampson
Preceded by
Isiah Thomas
NCAA Basketball Tournament
Most Outstanding Player
(men's)

1982
Succeeded by
Akeem Olajuwon
Preceded by
Mark Aguirre
NBA first overall draft pick
1982 NBA Draft
Succeeded by
Ralph Sampson
Preceded by
Magic Johnson
NBA Finals Most Valuable Player
1988
Succeeded by
Joe Dumars


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