EVERY league has its fair share of busts – and the NBA is no exception.
One such player to fail to live up to expectations was former New York Knicks center, Jerome James.
James made 358 NBA appearances in totalCredit: Getty
He averaged 4.3 points, 0.3 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per gameCredit: Getty
The now 47-year-old Floridian made a name for himself at Florida A&M from 1995-1998 where he was named to the First-Team All-MEAC twice.
James was subsequently selected 36th overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 1998 NBA Draft.
Following a brief stint with the Harlem Globetrotters, he headed for the West Coast, making his league debut in February 1999.
After making 16 appearances for the Kings, James was forced to sit out the following season with a knee injury.
Released by Sacramento in October 2000, James looked to get his pro career back on track by heading for Europe.
Following stints with Fortitudo Pallacanestro Bologna in Italy, KK Buducnost Podgorica in Montenegro, and ASVEL Villeurbanne in France, he returned to the NBA, signing with the Seattle Supersonic in September 2001.
The next four seasons were the best of James’ career, starting 160 of his 252 appearances, averaging 5.1 points, 0.4 assists, and 3.6 rebounds.
This was enough to convince the New York Knicks to pay up big for the then-29-year-old.
James was signed to a five-year deal worth $30million, and it seems expectations were high.
“James is generally regarded as an intelligent player with good physical tools and untapped potential.
“By his own admission, he has not always worked as hard as he should.
He has also admitted to an overactive social life, but he was lauded by teammates for making strides in all areas last season,” according to a 2005 New York Times article.
Unfortunately, it appears that potential was set to remain untapped.
James started just 20 of his 86 appearances in his first two seasons, going on to play just twice in each of the subsequent two because of injuries.
The Knicks eventually cut their losses and traded him to the Chicago Bulls in February 2009.
During his time in New York, James cost the Knicks $175,000 per point, according to Go Banking Rates, who had him listed as the NBA’s biggest-ever contract bust.
Unfortunately, his career in Illinois never got off the ground, missing the 2009 season with an Achilles injury.
Barring two spells in Puerto Rico with Caciques de Humacao and Osos de Manatí in 2012 and 2015 respectively, James’ playing days were over.
James was an imposing figure at 7-foot-1Credit: Getty