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Lakers Moments: James Worthy takes flight

March 21, 2011 |  3:15 pm

Photo: James Worthy. Credit: Los Angeles Times
In the air: In 1982, Lakers' James Worthy said he liked the pro game because it allowed him to be more "creative."

Sometimes overshadowed by fellow Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Worthy was an essential piece of the Lakers' Showtime machine in the 1980s. In fact, it’s worth noting that the two best Lakers teams from that era — the 1987 and 1988 championship squads — were led in scoring during the playoffs by James Worthy, who averaged 23.6 and 21.1 points, respectively.

Though Worthy's manner was smooth, his game was based on an explosive first step toward the hoop and finishing plays with great strength at the rim. In his time, he was as reliable a finisher as there was in the league.

Worthy was so good at getting to the basket and finishing that his shooting percentage never was lower than 53% in his first eight years in the league and he had three seasons in which he shot 57%. He ranked in the top 10 in the league in shooting percentage five times.

Read more about James Worthy and his three championships in All Things Lakers, the Los Angeles  Times’ interactive database of all things purple and gold.

-- Sarah Ardalani and Steve Lowery

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times