Standing Above the Crowd                         

                      Execute Your Game Plan To Be The Best You Can Be



What People Are Saying about
James Donaldson and Standing Above the Crowd


“Having worked with pro athletes in the major U.S. sports for forty-plus years, I respect my friend James Donaldson for accomplishing what is a very tall order. To stay true to your values, excel in your sport for many years, found and run a thriving business for more than two decades, all the while putting God and others first—James makes it look as easy as his dunks from way above the rim. When this smiling giant unpacks his amazing mind, it pays to look up and listen.” — George Toles, former NBA announcer and retired media executive


“James is a gentleman with heart. He cares deeply about his community and his friends old and new; I count myself lucky to be one of the latter. James inspired and encouraged me during our 2009 campaigns for local office, and I believe his words, ‘If it’s to be, it’s up to me’ will inspire others to live their best and stand tall beside him.”

— Sally Bagshaw, Seattle City Council


“I knew James Donaldson as an opposing center with the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics and Dallas Mavericks when I was with the Los Angeles Lakers. We knew it would always be a tough contest because of his focus and sheer determination, and we would have to bring our “A” game.”

— Jamaal Wilkes, Former NBA All-Star, President/CEO of Jamaal Wilkes Financial Advisors, LLC


“Every day, James works to help his community by mentoring and teaching people how to make positive progress in their lives. His commitment to success isn’t for self-gain; it’s driven by his desire to see others achieve their goals and dreams. Standing Above the Crowd is one more example of how James reaches out to share his knowledge and experience for the benefit of others.”

— W. Gregory Guedel, Attorney at Law, Foster Pepper, PLLC, and Snohomish City Council Member


Standing Above the Crowd makes me feel 10 feet tall!”

— Marlee Huber, author of Unstoppable Abundance


“Thank you for coming to my school today! When I heard we were having an assembly I was sort of disappointed....They tend to be boring. But when you were done speaking, I was yet again disappointed; but not because of the speech you gave, but because I didn’t want for you to be done. What you were saying out there was really inspirational. I really did take something away from this assembly….I’d really like to hear more of what you’ve got to say, which brings me to ask about your book. I’d really like to read it myself.”

— Katie Artt, high school student in Washington State


“I followed James’ professional basketball career, and brimmed with pride to see him excel with the Dallas Mavericks and the Seattle Supersonics. I had a chance to connect with James to talk about his political aspirations, and how I could support his latest endeavor. I had a chance to get to know James as a person, and not just as a former opponent on the basketball court. I found James to be an intelligent man, who was dedicated to education and possessed a commitment to personal health and wellness, for not just himself, but for others as well. James is a deep thinker, and his insight provides us with something we can all learn and grow from.”

— Kenneth R. Lyles, General Manager Fishermen’s Terminal/Maritime Industrial Center


“James Donaldson writes with a world of experience in many different fields. Read, enjoy, and then apply all of his insights and wisdom.”

— Pat Williams, Orlando Magic senior vice president, author of Bear Bryant on Leadership


“I have known James Donaldson since he was a Seattle SuperSonic. Since we saw each other regularly, I was in a unique position to watch James grow. It is easy to see externally how he has grown and succeeded, but I witnessed internal transformation. The growth on the outside pales with his spiritual growth.”

— Stan Newell, D.P.M., .A.C.F.A.S


“If I had a million dollars to wager, I never would have bet that the words James Donaldson and NBA All-Star would have ever been uttered in the same sentence. Because of James’ tremendous focus and drive to be a success, he consistently pushes himself to maximize his potential, and his book Standing Above the Crowd shows us all how to do the same.”

— Marcus Johnson, NBA All-Star and former teammate


“James Donaldson is the most prolific and the most powerful figure of a Center the Mavericks have ever had (before or since his tenure in Dallas). I have known James Donaldson for over twenty years, and I was his tae kwon do instructor during some of the greatest years in Mavs history. I was honored that James listened to me as a teacher, but he taught me plenty. One of the greatest things he showed me was the importance of his steadfast loyalty to his friends. I know that I can count on James and that he and I will always be friends.”

— Kenn Thorpe, 5th Degree Tae Kwon Do Black Belt Instructor, Dallas, TX


“I had the opportunity to play in the NBA for a few years where I encountered the imposing James Donaldson. It wasn’t until we both finished our careers in Europe that I saw James, the person, who had truly earned the title of Ambassador of Basketball by definitely “Standing Above the Crowd.”

— Jerrod Mustaf, former NBA Player, President of Street Basketball Association


“On the first day I met James Donaldson, he shared his personal philosophy on the values of hard work, perseverance, and education. James exemplifies the tenet that the starting point of all achievement is desire, which must remain a constant, because weak desires bring weak results. James’ must-read book shares his positive life philosophy and views on the value of education that will help you to ‘Stand Above the Crowd.’”

— Randy J. Aliment, Partner, Williams Kastner Law Firm


“Donaldson’s thoughts expressed in Standing Above the Crowd are ideas that are above the crowds but below the clouds. James turns his readers onto some very positive concepts, which they can use not only personally, but also when dealing with others. Being a licensed behavioral health professional, I will suggest Standing Above the Crowd as reading material to several of my clients, especially those who are struggling with self-image issues or those who are having a hard time developing some life goals. My hope is that after reading Standing Above the Crowd, these patients might be motivated to use their unused talents and stand above the crowd.”

— Chuck Wright, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Traumatic Stress Specialist


“I have known James since 1984, and through the years I have always felt that he was an extraordinarily intelligent man who would aspire to politics. I would not be surprised if he, one day in the near future, ran for President and won.....!!! “Just don’t forget me, James.”

— Harvey Catchings, Former NBA Player and Teammate


Standing Above the Crowd reminds all of us of the tremendous potential we all possess and how to tap into it.”

— Marvin Kunikiyo, D.C., author of Revolutionizing Your Health


“‘Jimmy’ (as I’ve always called him) has always been one to “Stand Above the Crowd.” I remember as if it were yesterday that he would arrive early at the Seattle SuperSonic practices and go through his drills that I taught him until he perfected them. Not many young players are willing to put in the time and effort that Jimmy did. That’s one of the reasons that he had a twenty-year professional basketball career! His Desire, Dedication, and Discipline approach is something everyone can benefit from. It’s been a real treat to watch his growth and progress through the years.”

— John “J.J.” Johnson, Starting Point Forward, NBA World Champion Seattle SuperSonics ’79


“James Donaldson is a ‘will do’ type of guy. Whatever challenges were placed in front of him, he would quietly tackle them with hard work and tremendous focus. He not only dreamed about success, but worked for it, accomplishing much along the way. Be it on the basketball court, in the realm of business, or in the community, James constantly stands above others and serves as an inspiration to all who know him.”

— Mark Edwards (James Donaldson’s former assistant coach at Washington State University), Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Washington University

Standing Above the Crowd should be mandatory reading for every one of our students throughout the country!”

— Frank Reed, author of In God We Trust: Dollars and Sense


“Standing Above the Crowd is a moving testament of how a caring adult recognized the potential for inspirational leadership in a shy teenager. A must read for adults and young people alike.”

— Rosa Franklin, Senate President Pro Tempore, 2005-2010 Washington State Senate


“I remember visits to James’ home when he was a very young, chubby boy who was extremely reserved and polite. As he grew rapidly, no one envisioned that one day he would play basketball in the NBA, but it was apparent that character-wise, he would grow as a Christian and one who would always be concerned about the quality of life for all members of our democratic society. This book reflects the character of the man who has captured the hearts of thousands as he pursues worthy goals on behalf of fellow citizens. He indeed “Stands Above the Crowd” in more ways than one.”

— Charles Hall, James Donaldson’s Relative


Standing Above the Crowd points out that the Sky is the Limit if you put your heart and mind in to it.”

— Nancy Jutton, author of Bye-Bye Boring Bio Action Guide


“Of all the candidates I’ve ever known, no one showed up at work every day with more discipline, dedication, and focus on his job. And he never complained once.”

— Carl Silverberg, Political Fundraiser and Strategist


“We were proud to induct you into our Hall of Fame because of your achievements in Athletics, Business, and Community. Thank you for your suggestions and guidance as we changed the name to Multi-Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame. A brilliant stroke!”

— Arif Khatib, Founder/President, Multi-Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame


“I first saw James when we were both freshman at Washington State University and he was playing a pick-up game of basketball in the gym. He had difficulty running—let alone playing basketball. But every year, James got better, to the point of excelling at the highest level possible. Physically James stopped growing as a teenager. But as a person, James continues to grow each and every day. Life is not about peaking—it’s about becoming a better person every day. We can all learn from observing James.”

— Kevin Phelps, Deputy Pierce County Executive


“I have known ‘Dukes’ before he became ‘Dukes’ and he never ceased to amaze me with the ease at which he blends into the crowd given his size. I am sure that is because of his soft spirit and the way he comports himself. A true gentleman! Invite him into your life through his written word and see how much better you are for the effort.”

— Jim Marsh, Executive Director, Washington State Mentors


“James has declared his commitment toward peace and reconciliation, and this book shows how and why he earned this reputation.”

— Herman McKinney, former Director of the Urban Enterprise Center, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce


“Both on the court and off, James has brought to the Seattle region a passion for excellence and a willingness to lead. His core values of education, motivation, and teamwork come through in his book and through his enduring example of leadership.”

— Phil Bussey, President & CEO, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce


“As an individual who spent over forty years of his life coaching and mentoring young individuals, I recommend this book to anyone seeking greater insight into the fundamentals necessary for successfully mentoring our youth. The fundamentals that James Donaldson articulates are relevant and timely. They slice through the clutter and deliver an insightful approach to delivering your best performance.”

— George Raveling, former Washington State University Basketball Coach, International Basketball Director


“I’ve known James since we were both freshmen student athletes at Washington State University in 1975. At the time, I was an aspiring redshirt-football player. I’ve observed many athletes in all sports, and James, literally and figuratively, stood above them all! Absolutely no one worked harder and was more dedicated at making himself into a world class athlete than James Donaldson. On top of that, James is a world class person, and anyone reading his book, Standing Above the Crowd, will be the better for it.”

— Jack “Throwin’ Samoan” Thompson, former Washington State University and NFL quarterback


“I first met James in 1975. He joined our team at Washington State University as a quiet, introverted person with raw, undeveloped physical size and athletic ability. Through his persistent effort, hard work, and determination, he transformed himself into an NBA All-Star and the tremendous person he is today. On a personal note, we still consider James a family friend, and my sons grew up thinking everyone had a seven-foot NBA center and his dogs to play with. I have the first-hand knowledge that James didn’t just write this book; he lives it!

— Marty Giovacchini, Captain, Washington State University Basketball, 1977


“I would like for everyone who reads your book to know about your coming to prayer meeting every Wednesday when you were in town. Your favorite song was “Further Along We’ll Know All About it.” I also can recall when your father visited from California. You also brought him to prayer meeting. Now what does this say about you? It tells me that you are a child of God who believes in the power of prayer and one who enjoys the fellowship and love of his brothers and sisters in Christ. God Bless You.”

— Reverend Phyllis I. Beaumonte, Seattle, WA


“I have known and worked with James Donaldson, a great friend, at Mount Zion Baptist Church for many, many years. He continues to support our youth and adults in our church programs. James is a great example of spreading the love of Jesus Christ in many, many ways.”

— Rev. Frank M. Byrdwell Jr., Minister and Organist at Mount Zion Baptist Church, Seattle, WA


“For those of you who’ve had the pleasure of casual conversation with James Donaldson, you are already aware of why the title of his book, Standing Above the Crowd, is so appropriate. His wisdom, judgment, and humor are all front and center in this very uplifting book.”

— Tom “Satch” Sanders, eight-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics, former NBA executive and businessman


“After a memorable NBA career that spanned fourteen seasons, James Donaldson turned his attention to attacking social problems and helping make the world a better place. He does that job with style, grace, kindness, and wisdom. The Puget Sound area is a better place for having James Donaldson as a resident.”

— Mike Gastineau, KJR Sports Radio Talk Show Host


“James Donaldson shares a timely and powerful story, vividly illustrating the role personal clarity plays in the achievement of lifelong success. Standing Above the Crowd reflects James’ legendary example of living a life knowing who you are and where you are going; achieving extraordinary results in athletics, business, and community. Standing Above the Crowd is more than a book—it’s the way to live a successful life.”

— Colin Brine, CPA, consultant, and cofounder of


"Standing at seven foot, two inches tall, James Donaldson stands above the crowd in more ways than physical stature.  His stories about making the right choices, overcoming fear and self doubt, and staying resilient and goal focused in the face of tough challenges routinely bring audiences to their feet.   Audience members – from business executives to youth groups to guests at major industry conferences -- walk away standing taller, thinking more boldly, and believing in unlimited possibilities that they can make happen in their lives and work."

Copyright 2016