James Bailey (basketball) : biography
James L. "Jammin' James" 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. He spent 9 seasons (1979–1988) in the 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.
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), 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.
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