James Worthy to be inducted into National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame
The nickname "Big Game James" was bestowed on him at North Carolina, and now James Worthy's consistency in fulfilling that reputation at his alma mater has earned him a spot in this year's class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame inductees. They will be honored Nov. 20 in Kansas City, Mo.
James was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2003 for his role during the Lakers Showtime Era, when he helped secure three NBA titles, earned an NBA Finals MVP award in 1988 and appeared in seven NBA All-Star games. His college career also features plenty of accomplishments. Worthy, one of seven UNC players to have his jersey number retired, led the Tar Heels to two consecutive finals appearances in 1981 and 1982, including a championship the latter season.
As a junior forward, Worthy led the team in scoring (15.6 points per game) on a team that featured Sam Perkins and Michael Jordan, and he earned College Basketball Player of the Year honors along with Virginia Cavalier Ralph Sampson, who is also on this year's list of inductees. Highlights of the 1982 national championship game between North Carolina and Georgetown often feature Worthy making a signature steal from Hoyas point guard Fred Brown and a tip dunk over Georgetown center Patrick Ewing, which capped a 28-point performance on 13-of-17 shooting that earned him the NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player award.
The rest of this year's class includes coaches Bob Knight and Eddie Sutton, players Cazzie Russell and Chris Mullin and contributors Joe Vancisin and Eddie Einhorn.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: James Worthy in 2006. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times