Now and then, in communities throughout America, there is a child born that has an unusual talent in a particular sport. They have that natural ability to stand out far and above everyone else. The following is the story of Jimmy Bond, who could have excelled in every sport but chose basketball.
Jimmy was born on September 3, 1935, at Worley Hospital in Pampa, Texas. He was the youngest of three brothers, Billy Joe, Marvin Earl, and Jimmy. Their father worked for Cabot Corp. They lived in Skellytown, then Bowers City, and then when Jimmy was five years old, they moved to Pampa, and Jimmy started school at Hoarse Mann Elementary. Everyone played sandlot sports until the seventh grade. Jim played football and basketball during those years. Coach Scoggins was the basketball coach in Junior High and recognized this tall, lanky boy had the skills to be extremely good. The school system had the 6, 7, and 8 grades in Junior High, but your Freshman year (9th grade) was in High School.
By 1950, the Pampa School Board realized that Coach Clifton McNeely was a winner, so they built one of the finest High School field houses in that part of Texas. The gym was completed in late 1952 and was the beginning of the legacy of Coach Clifton McNeely and the Hustling Harvesters (1951 to 1961). They dominated Texas basketball, and Jim was there at the beginning.
His sophomore year, in 1952, Jim was a starter. The Harvesters lost one game to Borger and finished the season at a 28 wins and two losses. By now, all of Pampa knew about this kid, Jimmy Bond, and the new gym was utterly packed with 2,500 seated and 300 standing any place they could. Every radio in Pampa was tuned to KPDN and called by the Voice of the Harvesters, Warren Hasse. Those next two years, ‘53 and ‘54, were every basketball player’s dreams, undefeated, and two state championships under his belt. Pampa’s record at that moment was 58 wins - and 0 losses!
During those years growing up, Jim felt the call of the Lord to become a minister of the gospel. So, by the age of 15, he was occasionally preaching in the Nazarene Church. However, he never faltered in his mission throughout life to tell others about Christ.
Not only was Jim outstanding in basketball, but he was president of his class in ‘51, ‘52, ‘53, and ‘54. All School Favorite ‘54, and the list goes on and on and on. In addition, he is the only player in Harvester basketball to be awarded “First Team High School All American” in the All-Star Games. The game was played in Kentucky, 1954.
After graduation, Jim went on a scholarship to Pasadena Nazarene College. After his sophomore year, Jim was chosen to go to the 1960 Olympics in Australia as an alternate player. This team had players like Bill Russell and K.C. Jones of the Boston Celtics! He had been awarded two All-American titles. Jim spent the next four years at the Nazarene Theological Seminary. Then he received his master’s at Southern Nazarene University. He was drafted into the NBA by the L. A. Lakers during this time, which he declined.
He was a pastor in five states and was a missionary in Brazil for a short time. Jim was President of Point Loma Nazarene University for fourteen years. He received an earned PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary and also three honorary doctorate degrees. And lastly, he has been inducted into five Hall of Fames, including the National High
School Athletic Hall of Fame and the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
Jim and Sally are now retired and live in Arizona close to their children, grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. He still preaches whenever needed.
They have a son and two male grandchildren that are ministers of the gospel.
It is an honor, Jim and Sally, to have you both as friends all these sixty-plus years, starting in our hometown of Pampa, Texas.
A word to the wise: I am 85 years old and have been involved in sports my entire life as a player and a coach. A few of those young boys I worked with were considered exceptional. Some of the players let their egos get the best of them and life’s opportunities faded away…However, most of them realized their special gift and used it to help others. Jimmy Bond was definitely one of those.
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