Matt Barnes, Nick Johnson, Leon Lee headline ninth Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame class

Two former NBA players, a Major League Baseball player, a slugging star who played in Japan and a world-class triathlete will be inducted into the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday at The Venue at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln.

Matt Barnes and James Donaldson logged long NBA careers, though Barnes entered UCLA as a star out of Del Campo High School and Donaldson rose from relative obscurity from Burbank High to become a solid NBA big man. Donaldson was so apprehensive about playing basketball, including learning to dribble and move at the same time, that he requested his prep coaches at Burbank cover the windows of the gym doors so no one could watch.

A 7-foot-2 center, Donaldson played for Washington State from 1975-79 and in the NBA from 1980-1993. He was an All-Star with the Dallas Mavericks in 1988.

Los Angeles Clippers center James Donaldson (40), a Burbank High School graduate, passes as the Kings’ Rich Kelley (50) and Mike Woodson (42) defend at Arco Arena in November 1985.
Los Angeles Clippers center James Donaldson (40), a Burbank High School graduate, passes as the Kings’ Rich Kelley (50) and Mike Woodson (42) defend at Arco Arena in November 1985.

Barnes, a 6-7 guard/forward, played at UCLA from 1998-2002 and was in the NBA from 2004-17, including two stints with the Sacramento Kings.

Barnes now does NBA media work, including on Kings broadcasts. Barnes was also a superb high school football player, catching 28 touchdowns as a receiver as a Del Campo senior in 1997, and he has long maintained that football, the weight room and the contact helped prepare him for the rigors of the NBA.

Matt Barnes was a star wide receiver at Del Campo High School in the late 1990s, but his talent in basketball took him to UCLA and the NBA.
Matt Barnes was a star wide receiver at Del Campo High School in the late 1990s, but his talent in basketball took him to UCLA and the NBA.

A smooth-hitting first baseman, Nick Johnson starred at McClatchy High School and was drafted in the third round of the 1996 MLB draft by the New York Yankees. He played in the big leagues from 2001-2012, hitting .268 for his career with 95 home runs and 398 RBI.

Leon Lee of Grant High fame was a baseball star in Japan, where he swatted 269 home runs with 884 RBI, playing first base, third base and catcher from 1978-1987. He played 10 years in Japan, where he became the first Black manager in Japanese baseball history. Lee spent years scouting the Pacific Rim for the Chicago Cubs.

Lee will be introduced by his son and former MLB player Derrek Lee, who is already in the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame.

Jamie Whitmore of Valley High School is one of the top triathletes in the world, winning six national championships and one world title. She is now a paracyclist who earned an ESPN ESPY award for Best Female Athlete with a Disability in 2014.

World champion paracyclist Jamie Whitmore leads core exercises with a group of triathletes she was training at Lake Natoma on Aug.12, 2014, the year she was awarded an ESPN ESPY for Best Female Athlete with a Disability.
World champion paracyclist Jamie Whitmore leads core exercises with a group of triathletes she was training at Lake Natoma on Aug.12, 2014, the year she was awarded an ESPN ESPY for Best Female Athlete with a Disability.