When the pressure is on, so was his game.
Worthy was selected No. 1 overall in 1982 by the freshly minted NBA-champion Lakers due to a trade made two years prior that saw L.A. receive a future Draft pick from Cleveland in exchange for a 1980 selection and reserve forward Don Ford.
He became an instant perfect fit with the "Showtime" Lakers, effortlessly filling the lanes on the fast break and quickly becoming a favorite target of Hall of Fame point guard Earvin "Magic" Johnson. He did not become a full-time starter for the Lakers until his third season. That year (1984-85) saw the Lakers finally vanquish long-time rival Boston in the Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Worthy's smooth athleticism and efficient scoring earned him seven consecutive All-Star appearances with the Lakers, tying him with Shaquille O'Neal for sixth-most such honors in a Lakers uniform.
With the first back-to-back championships since the 1980s at stake, Worthy stepped up in historic fashion in Game 7 of the 1988 Finals. The Lakers superstar amassed 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists, a performance that cemented his nickname of "Big Game James."
After playing his entire career with the Lakers, Worthy's name is a frequent sight on the franchise's all-time leaderboards. He ranks near the top in games played (4th), points (6th), minutes (6th), shots made (5th), offensive rebounds (5th), assists (9th), steals (3rd), and blocks (7th).