This article is being written days late. Why? Because I am the mechanical dummy of the West. I am learning my new high speed internet and my new computer. I know I did something wrong in setting up the computer; when I turn it on, the garage door opens. But at least this article is getting published to my website..........................finally!
Story of the Week
Had James Worthy played in any other collegiate league or for any other college team, his reputation and his place in the record books might have been far larger. It was indeed difficult to stand out in the powerful ACC, or to earn a true piece of individual immortality in a program as rich in tradition as North Carolina during the Dean Smith era.
As it was, however, Worthy would grab for himself a considerable piece of ACC and UNC fame and fortune. The 6’9” junior consensus first-team All-American was the season’s leading scorer for the 1982 NCAA champion UNC basketball team. He also led all scorers with 28 points in the celebrated NCAA title over a Georgetown U. team that featured freshman phenom Patrick Ewing.
Yet while Worthy was dominating enough throughout the entire stretch of March Madness to earn tournament MVP honors, few fans in subsequent years would remember much about the dramatic championship victory beyond the clutch last-minute winning shot launched by a sensational freshman teammate named Michael Jordan.
If Worthy seemed to thrive on being a big fish in an even bigger pond while at UNC, the same fate followed him into the NBA as the first overall pick in the 1982 NBA draft. With the Los Angeles Lakers teams of the mid-‘80s, he would again be forced into the shadows, now by teammates “Magic” Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and even sometimes by one-time UNC teammate Sam Perkins.
It is nonetheless unlikely that the Lakers could have won quite so consistently without James Worthy in the fold. His career numbers were solid with 16,320 points and a 17.6 career average. His individual honors were considerable including the All-Rookie Team in 1983 and NBA Finals MVP in 1988. Worthy was a member of three championship Lakers teams. It was his production in high-impact key games that earned him the name of “Big Game James.” His nine-season and 143-game playoff shooting percentage of .544 ranks as one of the best in NBA history.
During the championship season of 1988, it was Worthy who indisputably was the biggest Lakers “Showtime” weapon. His first-ever career triple-double (36 points, 16 boards and 10 assists), fortunately for the Lakers, came in Game 7 of the NBA finals, and gave L.A. a 108-105 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
James Worthy’s name is on the distinguished list of the NBA’s “Top 50” players in league history.
Last Week’s Trivia
On April 10, 1977, 19 runs were scored in one inning to set the MLB record for same. In the eighth inning of play, Cleveland (13) and Boston (6) set the record.
Trivia Question of the Week
John Ashley of Moorpark, CA., came up with this scenario. A pitcher throws a perfect game; he faces 27 batters and retires them all. In the process, it does not at all change the opposing players’ batting averages. How can this be? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.