Loved playing with West. Get him the ball and go opposite. He would score or find you. Said West was great athletically and turned it on in the clutch.
Dangerous to play with Oscar. Such a clever passer he would hit you in face if you were not always paying attention.
Rick Barry was a true prima donna. Pouted if you didn’t get him the ball.
There was a game where Barry scored 53 and King scored 35 (his high) that still ranks second for two players both topping 30 in same game.
Bill Sharmin used him as sixth man with Warriors. He told him he had to shoot the first time he touched the ball. Jim was always a pass-first guy
But Sharmin said, “You are a pure shooter and you can hit your first shot.” He averaged 16 that year and made the all-star team.
On guarding Oscar, “He did anything he wanted. Pass or shoot, he was the best. You just had to keep the ball out of his hands.”
Jerry Sloan was toughest player in league. He got a reputation for being mean. Jim said, “He was not dirty. His screens were legal. Just tough.”
Jim cried while telling of Sloan leaving after a win to attend his brother’s funeral. He drove all night. Drove to make tipoff next night. Played with no sleep and got 18 rebounds in a win at second place Detroit. They won again the next night and he had 22 rebounds. They didn’t expect him back for either game but needed both wins to make the playoffs. Jim said, “He wasn’t going to let his brother down and he wasn’t going to let us down. He drove straight to the arena and was in his uniform sitting in his locker when we got off the bus in Detroit. I cried then and I cry every time I think about it.”
Said he loved watching Nolan’s teams. Would not go to arena when Nolan first took over. Did not want to cause a scene. But ran into Nolan and was told to come to practice or games and so he began to go. Thought Nolan put his old players and Nolan’s new guys in their perfect roles, mixing them in with juco guys from his Texas team and Mike Anderson.
Best big man he ever saw was Bill Russell but saw Oscar dunk over him. Generally no one tried that.
He said Russell never blocked a shot out of bounds. He’d direct them to teammates to start a fast break. Only person who could do that. He said Russell picked him up and threw him once.
Mostly, Russell intimidated everyone, including Wilt. But Nate Thurmond loved playing against Russell.