Kamala: Former Mid-South Wrestler Talks About Lawler And McMahon

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FAST FACTS:

  • Former Wrestler James Harris Discusses How The Kamala Character Was Created
  • Jerry “The King” Lawler Credited With Coming Up With The Kamala Concept
  • Harris Says WWE Founder Vince McMahon Viewed Him As Poor & Uneducated

(Senatobia, MS) James “Kamala” Harris was a colorful wrestler known around the world.

Harris said, “I took on guys like Andre the Giant, Coco Beware and Hulk Hogan.”

But before he hit it big in the ring, he was simply James Harris, a Mississippi truck driver.

“I told a guy who was taking me around because I didn’t have a car, I said I ought to go and be a wrestler and he hit his brakes and he said I’ll take you to somebody.”

Things began to change when Harris later met wrestler, Jerry “The King” Lawler.

“Lawler saw me and said I got a good idea for you.”

Lawler’s idea transformed Harris into the wrestler named Kamala, the Ugandan Giant.

“He put the paint and stuff on me and they put the little skirt on me. I like doing that kind of stuff.”

From the Mid-South Coliseum to Europe, Kamala was a big hit in the ring. He said he had fame, but one thing he didn’t have was fortune.

“Wrestling was good, but the money wasn’t, not for me.”

Case and point was when Harris wrestled the man known as “The Undertaker” in front of 90-thousand fans in England.

“The Undertaker, he didn’t tell me himself, he made half a million dollars and I made $13,000.”

The man Harris blames for his lack of pay is WWF and WWE founder Vince McMahon.

“I think he looked down on me because I was a poor boy from Mississippi and I don’t mind telling anybody that I’m not well-educated. I’m a 9th grade student, but I can count.”

Harris left wrestling and returned to driving trucks in the early 1990s. That was until last year when he encountered his toughest opponent outside the ring: diabetes and high blood pressure.

“I had to have three of my toes taken off. They wouldn’t get well then I had to get my foot taken off. That wouldn’t heal. So, they had to come along the knee and take my leg off.”

It’s been a humbling experience for the former wrestler known as the Ugandan Giant, but he’s had plenty of support from his family and his wife, Emmer Jean Harris.

Emmer Jean Harris “He started to break down a little, but see I know God and God will never fail and how to keep telling him to keep trusting in God.”

Today Harris uses a wheelchair to get around, but he says he will walk again one day because he has a new prosthetic leg, he also says he’s also thankful for his family and his fans who will always remember him as Kamala.

“They know me all over the world. I get email from people all over the world and that really makes me happy.”

By the way, Harris is also a singer. He records music in his home that he sells online to his fans.

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