As a transfer student from Livingston University, Crawford enjoyed two successful seasons as a member of the Indian Basketball squad. In 1980 he was named KIAC Player of the Year, and All-District 32. He was selected a MVP of the Quincy Holiday Tournament, and helped to secure the District 32 Championship for the Indians. In the summer of 1980 he participated in the Australian Queensland Amateur Basketball Association as one of nineteen NAIA All-American.
After leaving Cumberland, Crawford signed to play in the Australian National Basketball League. He played for the Geelong Supercats from 1982-1985 then went to the CAnberra Cannons in 1986. Since 1987 Crawford has played for the Perth Wildcats.
Known as the "Alabama Slamma", Crawford is the teams all-time leading scorer, with 6889; the all-time leading rebounder, with 2886; and holds the team record for games played, with 324. During his years in the NBL, he was named an as All-star Five on four separate occasions. He has played on three NBL Championship teams and currently is the NBL all-time leader in shots blocked, with 758; the second all-time leader in rebounds, with 4497; the third all-time leader in points scored, with 10,420, and he is the career leader in total games played, with over 457. James Crawford currently resides in Perth, Australia, with his wife, Lissi, and their two daughters.
Crawford holds the NBL record as 1st in blocks per game in 1983 (3.1/22 games), 1st in field goal percentage in 1987 (62.6%, 386/616), and 13 40+ point games. His #7 jersey is one of five jerseys that have been retured by the Wildcats and is displayed at Challenge Stadium during Wildcats home games. Crawford was named to the NBL's First Team (1982, 1983, 1984, and 1987), participated in the NBL's 20th Anniversary Team (1998) and the NBL's 25th Anniversary Team (2003/04).