NO. 24

Making a long shot

Henry James came out of nowhere to play in the NBA.

Before his senior season at North Side High School, Henry James was the ultimate long shot as far as making the NBA. That's because he didn't play basketball at all until then.

"By Hey came up to me in the hall and asked if I ever considered playing basketball," James said in 1991. "I told him no, but then my mother convinced me to try out."

In his first game, the 6-foot-8 James didn't score. The following night, at Harding, he scored two points. Eventually, he improved enough to average 12 points a game and earn a spot at South Plains Junior College. From there he went to St. Mary's University in San Antonio and then to Spain to begin his world tour of a professional career. He eventually played in the CBA for two teams and also in Italy, Belgium, France and the Philippines. In all, he has played for 22 professional teams.

He also played in the NBA, starting with Cleveland in 1990-91 and 1991-92, continuing with Sacramento and Utah in 1992-93, the L.A. Clippers in 1993-94, Houston in 1995-96, Atlanta in 1996-97 and back to Cleveland in 1997-98. His longest consecutive stint was 102 games with Cleveland over two seasons, where he became known for consistently hitting long-range bombs.

James, shown on the left of this photo, got so hot one night against the Bulls that Michael Jordan asked, "Who are you?"

He has played 211 NBA games, averaging 6.1 points per game and shooting 41 percent from the field.

Among James' professional highlights are being named the 1996 CBA playoffs MVP and tying an NBA record with seven three-pointers in a quarter.

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