James Johnson - Basketball, 2018

James Johnson was always a step ahead of everyone else, and he would become a barrier breaker in Georgia. Johnson was an All State performer at Herschel V. Jenkins High School on the basketball court, once scoring 44 points and grabbing 26 rebounds in a single game in 1973. He led his team as far as the quarterfinals of the Class AAA state tournament and went to star for the Georgia All Stars in a victory over the New York City All Stars in the Boston Shoot Out. James became the first African American player from the state of Georgia to play for the University of Georgia, and he was good enough to earn playing time as a freshman in 1974. After transferring to Western Kentucky University, where he was the team MVP in 1977 and 1978 while leading his team in scoring and rebounding. He carried the Hilltoppers to berths in the NCAA Tournament in 1976 and 1978, advancing to a Sweet 16 game against Michigan State Unversity and Magic Johnson. He played professionally in France for two years, dominating the French league as he had dominated Savannah’s gyms and college basketball during his career. James was a member of the inaugural Jenkins High School Hall of Fame, and he will be remembered as one of the most dominant big men in Savannah basketball history.

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