#7 – Big Game James It started at North Carolina. During the 1982 season, James Worthy saved his best performance for the biggest stage. In the NCAA Championship Game that year, everyone remembers Michael Jordan hitting the game winning shot with 17 seconds left. They show replays of the shot on ESPN Classic ad nauseum, and rightfully so. If you can look past the radiance that is Michael Jordan’s star (and that’s a bright star), you’ll see that it was James Worthy who finished the game with 28 points on 13 of 17 shooting.
It was also James Worthy who snagged the game clinching steal after Michael Jordan’s big shot. Worthy carried this play over to the NBA, where his star shined the brightest in the biggest games. In Game 7 of the 1988 NBA Finals, the Lakers edged the Pistons to win their 2nd consecutive title and 5th championship of the decade. Without the MVP performance of James Worthy (36 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists), the Lakers have no shot to repeat. Needless to say, Big Game James definitely earned his nickname.