James Donaldson has been a Seattle resident and homeowner for over 30 years. A graduate of Washington State University, James was born in England in 1957 where his father was stationed in the US Air Force. Soon after, the family moved to Sacramento where James grew up and graduated from high school. James’ parents didn’t encourage him to play basketball until his senior year as they had a firm belief that high school was for academics! As a teenager James was an excellent student and was very involved in church and community activities.
In 1979 the Seattle Sonics drafted James. Although his 20 year professional basketball career took him all over the United States as well as Europe, James put down his roots here in Seattle. He lives in the same house in Magnolia he bought in 1981. James started Donaldson Fitness and Physical Therapy midway through his NBA career (1989) after a career threatening knee injury and is now celebrating his 20th year as a small business owner. He has been involved in community work since his earliest days as a Seattle Sonic. He has been especially engaged in underserved and neglected communities, such as Seattle’s Central Area and the Hill Top area in Tacoma. He volunteers in education programs, regularly tutors young children, is a strong advocate for Women and Minority owned business development and is active in the Chamber of Commerce, promoting programs that help small businesses survive and thrive. He is also a motivational speaker, often being asked to speak to younger audiences in disadvantaged communities.
A vegetarian for the past 20 years, he is very concerned about healthy eating and living habits. A few years ago James opened two new Fitness and Physical Therapy Centers in the Hill Top area of Tacoma and the Central area of Seattle. One of the goals was to try to tackle obesity, harmful life style habits and physical health issues that are so prevalent in the African-American and other lower income communities. Although both operated for a number of years, the recent economic slowdown forced James to close both within the last couple of years. He still keeps up his involvement in both neighborhoods as an outstanding male role model for youth and the small business communities. His remaining facility is the very successful and popular center in Mill Creek, which provides physical therapy to that area, including many senior citizens. James is active in Mount Zion Church, is Chair of the Christian Brotherhood Center, is a Board member of the Greater Seattle, South Snohomish and the Tacoma Chambers of Commerce, is an Executive member of the Washington State Mentors, is a loyal WSU Cougar, and as a dog owner is active in the Humane Society.
Nowadays, James dedicates the majority of his time to various community activities. He is especially committed to Your Gift of Life Foundation where he advocates for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. James frequently conducts motivational, inspirational, and educational speaking engagements for organizations, schools, youth groups. He is the author of the soon-to-be-published book, “Standing Above the Crowd,” which you can learn more about by visiting www.standingabovethecrowd.com . It is available for pre-sale right now. Mr. Donaldson is a long-time resident of Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood. He believes in being a role model of success and professionalism for the scores of young people that he devotes so much of his time to. He currently serves on several boards and committees and is a member of many organizations.
To learn more about James Donaldson's NBA career, go to his Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Donaldson_(basketball)