James Worthy revealed Lakers’ $1.1 million worth ‘Superman’ used to beat the heck out of him

Akash Murty
|Published 05/09/2022

James Worthy came into a team starring Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, that had won 2 chips and yet managed to make them even better.

The Purple and Gold won the NBA championship in 1980 and had plenty of ups and downs along the way, including losing head coach Jack McKinney to a near-fatal bicycle accident and the rise of Pat Riley from a TV commentator to an assistant head coach.

They would get knocked out in the first round of the 1981 Playoffs, win the title next year against the Philadelphia 76ers and then lose two straight Finals to the Sixers and the Celtics.

But not everything was lost in those two years. After winning the 1982 championship, the Lakers managed to get the first-round pick from the Cavaliers in exchange for Don Ford. That pick would be a 6’9 lanky small forward out of North Carolina, namely, James Worthy.

Also read: James Worthy had to pay $5000 to the police before he was allowed to play an NBA game

With his speed, dynamic ability to score with either hand and dazzling play above the rim, Worthy thrived in the Lakers’ high-octane “Showtime” offense and made an immediate impact as a rookie.

But there was a third-round pick from a couple of years back who would show Worthy how it was going to be for him in the league.

James Worthy used to get “beat the heck out” of him by Kurt Rambis

When not on fast breaks with his iconic Statue of Liberty dunks, Worthy was also one of the best post players at his position, with a quick spin move off the low blocks and a deadly turnaround midrange jump shot.

But all that versatility developed because of what he had to face in training. The 58th pick of the 1980 draft class, Kurt Rambis was one such player who was an overachieving underdog.

Known for his defensive abilities and rebounding skills, he was remembered in LA for his all-out effort which required him to do the dirty job mostly. And that’s who Worthy remembers as one of the rarest players who’d “beat the heck out of him.”

Rambis usually wore a thick moustache and thick-rimmed black glasses, prompting Lakers announcer Chick Hearn to nickname him ‘Superman’. It stuck among the fans who used the chants of “Superman” all the time.

Also read: LeBron James’ $154 million decision had Denzel Washington rushing to call his accountant for the 2018 season

That man taught Worthy a lot and made him keep up his high tempo and versatility despite playing in a team that already had Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

They went on to win three Championships together, with two of them coming against Larry Bird’s Celtics giving LA the best of Showtime Lakers. Rambis went on to coach some NBA sides but is worth just around $1.1 million, unlike his other teammates.

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About the author
Akash Murty

Akash Murty

An Electrical and Electronics Engineer by degree, Akash Murty is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. Previously a Software Engineer, Murty couldn’t keep himself away from sports, and his knack for writing and putting his opinion forward brought him to the TSR. A big Soccer enthusiast, his interest in basketball developed late, as he got access to a hoop for the first time at 17. Following this, he started watching basketball at the 2012 Olympics, which transitioned to NBA, and he became a fan of the game as he watched LeBron James dominate the league. Him being an avid learner of the game and ritually following the league for around a decade, he now writes articles ranging from throwbacks, and live game reports, to gossip. LA Lakers are his favourite basketball team, while Chelsea has his heart in football. He also likes travelling, reading fiction, and sometimes cooking.

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