Jerome James is a professional basketball player from the USA and plays as a center. James went to the Florida A&M University before declaring for the 1998 NBA Draft where he was picked at 36th overall by the Sacramento Kings.
James never played regularly in his rookie season, making just 16 appearances before being choosing to play for the Harlem Globetrotters in 1999. In 1999 and 2000, the Globetrotters saw James playing at the center before he chose to make a return to professional basketball, although in Montenegro. He played for KK Budocnost Podgorica in 2001 before returning to the NBA in time for the 2001-02 season, with the Seattle Supersonics.
James slowly made his presence felt at the Supersonics with 5.4 points per game and 4.2 rebounds in 51 appearances. Both these stats would become career-highs for the player who’s game kept dropping over the next few seasons.
It wasn’t until his final year at the Supersonics, in 2004-05, that James came into his own. He started all 80 games he played that season and had 3.0 rebounds and 4.9 points per game although he played just 16.6 minutes on average. His big flurry came in the playoffs, against the Sacramento Kings and the San Antonio Spurs, where he played 11 games and scored at 12.5 points per game with 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.
There was never anything spectacular about James as a center and this performance may have seemed to be the beginning of a rising curve that led the New York Knicks to pick him up. However, his 5-year, $30 million contract was cut short after just 4 seasons of average play. James just played 90 games for the Knicks in his 4 years there, out of which 45 games were in his first season and 41 in the second. He just played 2 games apiece for the final two years before being traded out to the Chicago Bulls.
His time at the Knicks was not pleasant at all. He started his Knicks’ career by being out of shape when arriving at the first training camp. Averaging just 3.1 points and 2.1 minutes per game, he was forced out of a majority of the season due to injury. James was mostly injured during his tenure for the Knicks and when not injured, barely made a significant impact in the game to earn more minutes of action. He was termed as the worst signing every made by Isiah Thomas, the General Manager of the Knicks.
According to HoopsWorld, James was touted as the Worst Free-Agent Signing of the Summer in their all-time worst list. He became known as a “contract-phenom”, a player who plays incredibly well when signed on a single year contract, but returns to his regular poor play when handed a long-term contract. Sports Illustrated also called him as a “chronic underachiever” who was a “mistake” even before he took to court at Madison Square Garden.
In 2008-09, a season ending Achilles Tendon injury meant that James would only play twice for the Knicks before his eventual trade.
He has yet to turn out for the Bulls on court.