Nowadays, James Worthy is known for being a great analyst for the Lakers pregame and postgame show, Access SportsNet.
Before that, there is a reason why James is known as “Big Game”.
Let’s remember and appreciate the legend of Big Game James Worthy!
The Lakers managed to get the number one pick in the 1982 NBA draft after a trade made years before with the Cleveland Cavaliers. There, they selected North Carolina’s forward James Worthy.
The rest is history.
Worthy played 12 seasons in the NBA, all with the Lakers, where his number 42 is retired. He won 3 titles and one finals MVP, an impressive accomplishment considered he was part of one of the best teams ever, with teammates like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. For his career, Worthy averaged 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds while shooting 52.1% per game. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
But behind these numbers, there are many stories that justify why Worthy was known as “Big Game”. First of all, his numbers went up every time he faced a tougher situation. In the playoffs, Worthy averaged 21.1 points and 5.2 rebounds on 54.4% shooting. In the 34 games he played in the NBA finals, he averaged 22.2 points per game on 53% shooting. And in the 4 games 7’s he played in his career, Worthy averaged 27 points and 8.2 rebounds on 60% shooting. It’s remarkable how he stepped up every time that the situation got tougher.
Now, to show how special his performances where, here are some of the great Worthy’s stories. During the 1988 NBA Finals, the Lakers were trailing the Detroit Pistons 3-2 when the series came back to Los Angeles. In Game 6, Worthy led the Lakers to a victory by scoring 28 points. Worthy came up big as Isiah Thomas had an amazing 43 point performance.
This set up an epic game 7, where Worthy had the best performance of his career. “Big Game” earned his nickname after he went off, scoring 36 points, grabbing 16 rebounds, and distribute 10 assists. Worthy managed to have the only triple-double of his career in game 7 of the NBA finals. The Lakers won 108-105 in a very close game. And of course, he was named finals MVP.
James Worthy was a player of one in a kind. How many players that are great manage to be even better in the most important moments?
For these and more reasons, Big Game James deserves to be mentioned as one of the all-time greats players, alongside being one of the most beloved players in Lakers’ history.
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