James Bailey (basketball)

James L. Bailey (born May 21, 1957) is a retired American professional basketball player. A 6'9" (2.06 m) forward/center from Rutgers University, he was selected with the 6th pick of the 1979 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics. Nicknamed "Jammin' James," he spent 9 seasons (1979–1988) in the National Basketball Association (NBA), playing for the Sonics as well as the New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, and Phoenix Suns. He ended his NBA career with 5,246 total points.

James Bailey
Personal information
Born (1957-05-21) May 21, 1957 (age 63)
Dublin, Georgia
Listed height6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Listed weight220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High schoolXaverian Brothers
(Westwood, Massachusetts)
CollegeRutgers (1975–1979)
NBA draft1979 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6th overall
Selected by the Seattle SuperSonics
Playing career1979–1990
PositionPower forward / Center
Number20, 33, 2, 6, 54, 27
Career history
19791981Seattle SuperSonics
19811982New Jersey Nets
19821984Houston Rockets
19841986New York Knicks
1986–1987New Jersey Nets
1987–1988Phoenix Suns
1988–1989Glaxo Verona
1990Turboair Fabriano
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points5,246 (8.8 ppg)
Rebounds2,988 (5.0 rpg)
Blocks521 (0.9 bpg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

While at Rutgers, Bailey was a formidable player, displaying a strong inside presence in addition to possessing great leaping ability. He was famous for his conversion of "alley oop" passes into slam dunks. The rule allowing dunking was re-instituted in college basketball beginning with the 1976-77 season, Bailey's sophomore year. Bailey's slam dunks were an immediate sensation at Rutgers, and Bailey led the team with 88 dunks as a sophomore. He increased this number to 116 as a junior. However, as a senior, he was met with constant double and triple teaming, and Rutgers' opponents "held" him to 79 dunks as a senior.

The Scarlet Knights advanced to the NCAA basketball Final Four in 1976, Bailey's freshman year, arriving with a 31-0 record. However, they were defeated by Michigan in the national semi finals, and then lost to UCLA in the 3rd place (consolation) game.

Bailey is number three on the Rutgers all-time scoring list (2,034 points)[1], and second in career rebounds behind Phil Sellers (1,047). He is also the second leading shot-blocker in Rutgers history behind Roy Hinson.

Bailey went on to capture All-America honors from UPI and The Sporting News in 1978.

Bailey's #20 jersey was retired by Rutgers in 1993, and he was inducted into the Rutgers Hall of Fame in the same year.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ rvc73 (2017-11-21). "When Rutgers Basketball had a nationally recognized star". On the Banks. Retrieved 2020-07-11.

External linksEdit