Our family of 6 children would walk the ¼ mile to church together each Sunday. My mom always sang in church and one service sang a song called “Hush (someone’s calling my name). The words to the song really grabbed me emotionally and made me want that experience on a permanent basis. After thinking about that song and about the lives of my mother and grandmother who were such great examples, I responded to the altar call at the end of the service to surrender my life to Christ to be my Savior. I was in 7th grade.
Basketball has given me a lot of privileges and allowed me to travel around the globe. The highlight of my career was representing our country at the World Championships in Athens (1998), which qualifies the teams who go to the following Olympics. The NBA was on strike, meaning that no one from the “Dream Team” was available to play. If it wasn’t for several controversial calls, including discounting our game winning shot, we would have played in the gold medal game.
As exciting as that was basketball wise, and as great as those memories are, it still passes away like almost everything else. However, my relationship with Christ, and the privilege I feel because of Christ accepting ME, and loving me - always waiting for us with His arms wide open – is the greatest experience of my life. It is something I’m not ashamed to share with anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Jimmy is a former Mr. Basketball in Arkansas (1987), All-Big Ten at Purdue, 2nd rd. draft pick for Cleveland Cavaliers; Veteran of parts of 5 NBA seasons; 2nd leading scorer in Croatia (2005), MVP Korac Cup 2001, top 3 in scoring twice in Greece (2001, 2002); and a member of the Bronze Medal World Cup team U.S. National Team in 1998. He is also the father of two (Kali and Peyton) and works currently as a Juvenile Officer in Akron.
Arkansas Mr. Basketball
Purdue U. Grad. All-Big Ten
2nd rd draft pick of Cleveland Cavs (1991)
NBA - 5 seasons (Cleve. Bost.,Toronto,Wash,Phoenix)
European Pro Star - Leading Scorer
Juvenile Officer. Basketball Camp Director.
Father of two.
“Hoops with Cops” Community Basketball Tournament
Former Cavs Larry Nance and Jimmy Oliver to coach
1998 USA Team in World Cup (results)
NBA Career Stats
Purdue U. Career Stats
1991-92 Cleveland Cavs (NBA)
1992-93 Sioux Falls Skyforce (CBA)
1993 Pescanova Ferrol (Spain)
1993-94 Boston Celtics (NBA)
1994–95 Baloncesto Salamanca (Spain)
1995 Rockford Lightning (CBA)
1995–96 San Diego Wildcards (CBA)
1996 Oklahoma City Cavalry (CBA)
1996 SLUC Nancy (France)
1996–97 Oklahoma City Cavalry (CBA)
1997 Toronto Raptors (NBA)
1997 Quad City Thunder (CBA)
1997 Washington Wizards (NBA)
1997–98 Ciudad de Huelva (Spain)
1998–99 Ducato Siena (Italy)
1999 Phoenix Suns (NBA)
1999–00 Iraklio (Greece)
2000–03 Maroussi (Greece)
2003–04 Dynamo Moscow (Russia)
2004–05 Split (Croatia)
2005–06 Union Olimpija (Slovenia)
2006–07 Apollon Patras (Greece)
PRO CAREER SUMMARY
Jimmy was drafted out of Purdue in the 2nd round (39th pick overall) by the Cavs in 1991, after an All-Big Ten career. During his rookie campaign he played in 27 games and averaged 3.6 ppg. Though invited to the Pistons training camp in September, he played in the CBA in the 1992-93 campaign.
For the 1993-4 season he signed with the Boston Celtics to fill the void caused by the tragic sudden death of Reggie Lewis. Though the same type of player, and though he had excellent production in any extended minute opportunites, he really was never given a chance there. He played 44 games averaging about 5 ppg in 12 minutes a night. Proof of that potential could be seen in his shooting percentage. In spite of numerous moments coming off the bench cold for just a minute or two, he shot 41% on 3's (and .407% for his career).
Jimmy was let go by the Celtics and played parts of the next three seasons in the NBA after that ('97-99) with Toronto, Washington, and Phoenix. Part of that was due to the rights that overseas teams held - keeping him from coming back to the U.S. Being either the leading scorer in the league, or one of the top scorers, teams were reluctant to grant his release to go back to the U.S. and play.
During the 1998 season, while NBA players were locked out, Jimmy led the US National Team in the FIBA World Championship. He was our country's leading scorer at 11.8 ppg and played alongside another Purdue player, Brad Miller. After beating Italy 80-77 in the quarterfinals, the US would lose to Russia 66-64 (who then lost to eventual champion Yugoslavia) in a highly controversial, referee influenced semi-final loss similar to our 1972 Olympic experience. They recovered to go on and beat Greece 84-61 to win the Bronze.
Back in Europe, Jimmy continued to star, especially for Maroussi Athens, and in 2001, won the league championship and the MVP award. After 3 seasons for Maroussi, he joined the Russian professional team known as Dynamo. In 2005 he played for KK Split in Croatia and in 2006 he played for Union Olimpija in Slovenia.