MOST players have their best performance against inferior competition when there’s little to no pressure.
This was certainly not the case for three-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer nicknamed Big Game James.
James Worthy is a Hall of FamerCredit: Getty
Worthy teamed up with Michael Jordan in collegeCredit: Getty
He played with the Los Angeles Lakers for 12 yearsCredit: Getty
James Worthy was at his best in the clutch when the game was on the line.
The 6-foot-9 small forward played his entire 12-year NBA career for the Los Angeles Lakers, teaming up and winning titles with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Before his dynasty with the Lakers, though, Worthy was one of, if not the best collegiate basketball player in the country.
Worthy attended the University of North Carolina, helping turn it into the heralded basketball school it is today.
It didn’t hurt that he got a little help from the best player of all time either.
Michael Jordan attended UNC in Worthy’s junior year, teaming up together for one season before the junior hit the NBA Draft.
In 1982, their only shared season, Worthy got a chance to witness His Airness before he was a household name.
The forward even recently shared that he was better than Jordan for just a short period.
Worthy said on the ACC Digital Network: “I was better than Michael Jordan; for about three weeks.
“First three weeks of practice, and I saw some things in him; I mean, he dunked on Sam Perkins one time, and I still don’t know how he did it…Michael was an incredible freshman.”
Despite Worthy leading his UNC team to the 1982 National Collegiate Athletic Association title by scoring 28 points in the championship game, it was Jordan who hit the big shot.
With time winding down, the ball found its way to Jordan, who casually sank the pull-up over Georgetown for the game-winning shot in the National Championship.
However, Worthy was crowned the MVP of the Final Four.
After Jordan and Worthy’s historic season at UNC, Worthy was selected with the first overall pick.
As the number one pick in the 1982 NBA draft, he spearheaded the Lakers to championships in 1985, 1987, and 1988 with a total of seven NBA Finals appearances.
Looking back at the NCAA championship game, Georgetown Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing can’t get the game and Worthy out of his head.
Ewing said: “Everybody talks about Michael was… If it wasn’t for James Worthy, I would have two championships.
“The one that we didn’t have anyone to stop was James Worthy. He was too big, too quick. I think he had 30-something points against us.
“Everyone else we held relatively in check, but we didn’t have anyone to stop him.”
The forward played with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-JabbarCredit: Getty
Worthy won a NCAA title at UNCCredit: Getty