Jim Musick was born May 5, 1910 in Kirksville, Missouri to a family of some notoriety. Other famous relatives include authors John R. Musick and Ruth Ann Musick, as well as painter Archie Musick. His family moved to southern California when Jim was a young boy. After attending Santa Ana High School Musick played college football at the University of Southern California from 1929 to 1931. It was at USC he earned the nickname "Sweet" Musick as he helped lead the Trojans to two Rose Bowl victories and a national championship in 1931. Musick ranks 17th on the Trojans all-time career rushing list with 393 carries for 1,605 yards. While at USC Musick even had a brief flirtation with Hollywood, having an uncredited role along with fellow Trojan players and former player John Wayne in the 1932 movie That's My Boy
After graduation from USC in 1932, Musick signed with the Boston Redskins (now the Washington Redskins) where he would play for four seasons. Musick led the NFL in rushing in 1933 with 173 carries for 809 yards, an average of 4.7 yards per carry, along with five touchdowns. For these accomplishments he was named to the 1933 NFL All-Star Team. Musick returned to the Redskins in 1935 only to suffer a season-ending knee injury three weeks into the season. In a bid to earn new contract with more money, Musick refused to report for training camp in 1936. The Redskins would not give into the demands and waived Musick. Picked up off waivers by the Green Bay Packers in 1937 Musick prepared to report for training camp however he reinjured the knee while playing badminton two weeks prior to camp, effectively ending his NFL career.
While still a professional football player, Jim Musick began working in the offseason as a deputy for the Orange County (California) Sheriffs Department. After retirement from the NFL Musick took up law enforcement full-time except for a period during World War II when he served as a US Marine officer. In 1947 Musick won election to the first of seven consecutive terms as Orange County Sheriff, remaining at the post until retirement in 1975. Jim Musick died December 15, 1992 at a Santa Ana, California nursing home.