James Worthy Biography

James Worthy is a retired forward who played for the Los Angeles Lakers. During his 12-year career, he won three NBA titles and was a seven-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA selection. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 and is a member of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.

Early Years

James Worthy averaged 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds as a senior All-American at Ashbrook High School in Gastonia, N.C. His team lost in the state championship game.

College Career

In 1980 as a freshman at the University of North Carolina, James Worthy had his season cut short by a broken ankle. The injury caused him to miss the final 14 games. Playing with two screws in the ankle as a sophomore, he averaged 14.2 points and 8.4 rebounds to lead the Tar Heels to the NCAA title game, where they lost to Indiana.

As a junior at UNC, he teamed with Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins to guide the Tar Heels to the NCAA title. He averaged 15.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists and was named All-American and College Player of the Year, before capping his season with a 28-point effort in the championship game that earned him MOP honors.

Professional Career

James Worthy skipped his senior season at UNC and was the first pick in the 1982 NBA draft. In his first season, he averaged 13.4 points on 57.9 percent shooting and grabbed 5.2 rebounds per game.

Two seasons later, he averaged 17.6 points and 6.4 rebounds to help the Lakers to a 62-20 record. He increased his scoring average to 21.5 points in the playoffs and Los Angeles beat Boston four games to two to win the 1985 NBA Finals.

In 1987, Worthy averaged 23.6 points per game for the Lakers, who won a league-best 65 games in the regular season before winning the Finals in six games over the Celtics. The Lakers defended their title the following season, winning 62 games during the regular season and taking care of the Pistons in seven games for the NBA title. Worthy was at his best during the Finals, averaging 22 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists, including a triple-double (36 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists) in Game 7 that earned him the MVP.

Although he continued to put up stellar scoring, shooting and rebounding stats, Worthy was unable to get a fourth championship ring. The Lakers lost to the Pistons in the 1989 Finals and the Bulls in 1991.

"Big Game James" retired (knee pain) prior to the 1994-95 season with career averages of 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He scored 16,320 points and had 1,041 steals.

Post-Playing Career

James Worthy is one of the host of LTV, which does the pre and postgame show for the Lakers' road games on KCAL-TV. He is also an NBA analyst for KCBS-TV.

He is CEO of James Worthy Enterprises and dedicates a lot of time and resources to various non-profit organizations.


James Worthy was born February 27, 1961 to Ervin and Gladys Worthy in Gastonia, N.C. He married Angela Wilder in 1984 (divorced) and they have two daughters, Sable and Sierra.