Whether it be shortening it to Jim, adding letters to create Jimbo or Jamie, or inventing the unique Jimmer, here is a list of 14 musicians, athletes and entertainers who are making James — one of the most common names in the U.S. — work for them.
Smith, born in 1968, grew up in Queens, where he began rapping when he was nine years old. Using his stage name, LL Cool J (Ladies Love Cool James) Smith dropped out of high school to embark on a music career. In 2008 LL Cool J released his final album with Def Jam. LL Cool J also starred in the TV sitcom “In the House,” and later went on to appear in films “Rollerball,” “Deliver Us from Eva,” and “S.W.A.T.” He is currently working on the CBS series “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
James Robert “Jim Bob” was the second youngest of the Walton children in the TV series, “The Waltons,” which ran from 1972 to 1981. The show focused on a family growing up in the fictional town of Walton’s Mountain, Va., during the Great Depression and World War II. Jim Bob was a fourth grader during his first appearance on the show, and over the course of nine seasons he grew up to become a mechanic and to open his own business.
O.J. Simpson was born in San Francisco, Calif., and attended college at the University of Southern California, where he was a running back for the Trojans in 1967 and 1968. Simpson was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1969 and was traded to the San Francisco 49ers prior to the 1978 season. Simpson’s “The Juice” nickname is a play on his initials — an abbreviation for orange juice — and a metaphor for electrical power. Simpson was accused of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, but was acquitted in 1995. He is currently in prison after being found guilty on twelve charges, including armed robbery and kidnapping.
Driscoll was born in Cardiff in 1880. He began boxing in south Wales, and turned professional around 1901. After taking the British Featherweight title in 1906 and the Commonwealth Featherweight title in 1908, Driscoll began boxing in the U.S. While in the U.S. he gained the nickname “Peerless Jim.” Driscoll worked as a physical training advisor during World War I before dying in Cardiff in 1925.
Yancey was born in 1974 and his interest in music began at age 2, according to his mother. Yancey began working as a record producer, and after his rap trio Slum Village got a hit with their "Fantastic, Vol. 2" album, Yancey became a sought-after producer. He released his solo album, “Welcome to Detroit,” in 2001. Yancey died in 2006 from an incurable blood disease and lupus.
Singer-songwriter James Vernon Taylor was born in Massachusetts and raised in North Carolina. He broke into the music scene after moving to England in 1967 as he embarked on a solo career. Taylor became the first non-British act signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records and later signed with Warner Bros. Records. His album “Sweet Baby James” was released in 1970 and reached No. 3 in the Billboard charts. Taylor continued to release albums, including the 2002 “October Road,” which went Platinum.
James Joseph Croce was born in 1943 in Pennsylvania. After enrolling at Villanova University in 1964, Croce began taking music seriously, working as a student disc jockey and forming bands that performed around Philadelphia. Croce and his wife, Ingrid Jacobsen, recorded “Jim & Ingrid Croce” in 1968. Croce later met Maury Muehleisen, whose guitar skills helped provide balance to Croce’s music. Croce signed a three-record deal with ABC Records and released “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” and “Life & Times” in 1972. Croce, along with Muehleisen and four others, was killed in a plane crash in September 1973.
English chef James Trevor Oliver was born in 1975. Oliver began working as a chef in England, where he gained the attention of the BBC in 1999. His show, “The Naked Chef” debuted that year, and his cookbook became a best seller in the UK. Since gaining notoriety, Oliver has turned his attention to improving the food used in national schools both in the U.S. and the UK.
U.S. tennis player James Connors was born in Illinois. His first significant victory on the tennis court came in 1970 against Roy Emerson. Connors turned professional in 1972 and later won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. He reached the World No. 1 ranking in 1974 and held it for 160 consecutive weeks; a record Roger Federer broke in 2007. Connors was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998.
One of the most iconic frontmen in rock music history, Jim Morrison was the lead singer and lyricist for The Doors. Morrison was born in Florida and grew up in both California and Florida. After graduating from the University of California Los Angeles, Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger came together to form The Doors. After signing with Elektra Records in 1967, The Doors shot into the national spotlight. Morrison died in Paris in 1971.
Although currently working as an analyst for Fox NFL Sunday, James “Jimmy” Johnson is better known for his work on the sidelines both in the NFL and the NCAA. Johnson was born in Texas and later attended college at the University of Arkansas. He began his coaching career at Louisiana Tech University in 1965 and took the head-coaching job at the University of Miami in 1984. While in Miami Johnson led the Hurricanes to two national championship games, winning one against Oklahoma. Johnson joined the Dallas Cowboys as head coach in 1989, leading the team to consecutive Super Bowl wins in 1992 and 1993. Johnson retired from coaching in 1999.
LeBron James, a professional basketball player currently with the Miami Heat, first gained attention during his high school career, where he was named Ohio’s “Mr. Basketball” three years in a row. James was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, and later gained Rookie of the Year honors, along with NBA Most Valuable Player honors for the 08-09 and 09-10 seasons. James was a member of the USA national team and won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. In 2010 James became a vilified figure in Cleveland after he signed with the Miami Heat during an ESPN special titled, “The Decision.”
The 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter hailed from Georgia, where he served two terms as a state senator and one as governor. Prior to his work in politics, Carter served as a junior officer in the Navy and ran his family’s peanut farming business in Georgia. Carter was elected President of the United States in 1976, defeating Gerald Ford. His 1980 reelection bid ended in defeat, with Republican Ronald Reagan carrying 44 states. Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his work with The Carter Center, which was created to help advance human rights.
National leading scorer and top-ranked point guard Jimmer Fredette is a senior at Brigham Young University, where he helped lead the team to a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Jimmer became the Mountain West Conference all-time leading scorer on Feb. 5, during a BYU-UNLV game in the Marriott Center. On March 7, Fredette was named the MWC player of the year and the CBSSports.com National Player of the Year. This season, Fredette also broke BYU’s career scoring record (surpassing Danny Ainge’s record) and set the schools’ single game scoring record. Jimmer and the rest of the Cougars will face the Wofford Terriers Thursday in Denver.