James King (January 1, 1986 - July 28, 2010) was a professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers. He was six feet seven inches tall and weighed 265 pounds. King was an African American born in San Diego. He was raised by a single mother because his father died when he was very young. When he was in high school, King gained recognition for his phenomenal athletic abilities. He attended UCLA and led the Bruins to an NCAA championship during his freshman year. UCLA went completely undefeated that season and they won by an average scoring margin of 27.3 points per game. King left college after only one year in order to enter the NBA Draft of 2007. The Los Angeles Clippers had the first overall pick in the draft that year and they selected King.

King averaged 28.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 9.7 assists per game during his rookie season. His individual statistics earned him Rookie of the Year honors, but he failed to get his team into the playoffs. In his second year with the LA Clippers, King led the team to their first playoff appearance in over a decade. They entered the NBA Playoffs as the eighth seed and staged a stunning first round upset over the top seeded Lakers. King’s Clippers saw their miraculous postseason run come to an end in the second round against the San Antonio Spurs. The next year, King led Los Angeles all the way to the Western Conference Finals before falling to the Phoenix Suns. In 2010, King entered free agency and made the choice to leave LA in favor of the New York Knicks. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, King said that he made the decision to abandon his old team because the Clippers franchise was not good enough to win a championship. He chose to play for New York because he felt that the Knicks gave him the best opportunity to win multiple championships throughout his career. Unfortunately, King never got the chance to play a single game for his new team because he died of a drug overdose.

Minh Bui