College - Ohio State
As a rookie guard on the legendary 1971-72 Lakers NBA Championship team that won a professional sports record 33 consecutive games, Jim Cleamons served mostly an ancillary role, seeing limited playing time on a team filled with future Hall-of-Famers the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich and Jerry West.
However, upon his return to Los Angeles 28 years later, Cleamons' impact has been much more profound, serving as an assistant coach and helping guide the Lakers to five championships in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010.
After reuniting prior to the 1999-2000 season with both the Lakers and head coach Phil Jackson, whom he served as an assistant coach under for seven seasons with the Chicago Bulls, Cleamons once again rejoined the Lakers and Jackson for the 2006-07 campaign and is now entering his 10th season as an assistant with the team.
Following his fifth season on the Lakers coaching staff in 2003-04, Cleamons joined the New Orleans Hornets and served as an assistant coach under former Laker Byron Scott for two seasons (2004-06). Prior to both the Hornets and Lakers, Cleamons was a member of the Bulls coaching staff from 1989-96, helping lead Chicago to four NBA titles in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1996. In his seven years with Chicago, the Bulls compiled a record of 414-160 (.721).
In May of 1996, Cleamons left the Bulls and was named head coach of the Dallas Mavericks where he stayed for a year-and-a-half, compiling a 28-72 record. Before joining the Lakers staff, Cleamons spent the 1998-99 season as the head coach of the Chicago Condors professional women's team that played in the now defunct American Basketball League.
After registering career averages of 18.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game at Ohio State University, Cleamons was selected by the Lakers with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the 1971 NBA Draft. After one season with the Lakers, Cleamons was traded for a future draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers where he played for five seasons. Cleamons spent the next two-and-a-half seasons with the New York Knicks where he was a teammate of Phil Jackson in 1977-78 before finishing the 1979-80 season with Washington. Throughout his NBA journey, Cleamons' teammates have included Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Lenny Wilkens while he has played under coaches such as Bill Sharman, K.C. Jones, Bill Fitch, Dick Motta and Red Holzman.
A member of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2008, Cleamons and his wife Cheryl reside in Manhattan Beach with their two daughters, Imani and Rose.