He was born in Craigneuk, Wishaw on 16 April 1906. King could play equally well on either of the two extreme wing positions. He was introduced to Juvenile football with Carfin Harp by Robbie Donnelly, a former Partick Thistle player. While Jimmy was with them in 1928 they won every competition which the club participated except the Scottish Juvenile Cup. He also played for Carluke Rovers prior to his signature being obtained by Hamilton manager Willie McAndrew in 1929.
He was chosen to play for the Lanarkshire Junior League versus the Forfar District League. Originally a provisional signing for Hamilton he completed full signing forms on the 3 June 1929.
He was chosen to represent the Scottish Alliance League to meet a Scottish Junior Select at Firhill on 18 April 1931. Originally operated on the left, the advantage of his two footedness was put to use to accommodate Bobby Reid who took over the number 11 jersey with Jimmy crossing over to the right side.
5'8" and 10sts 2 lb, he was an able marksman as well with over 80 goals in his 262 League appearances for Hamilton. He earned a Scottish League place against the Irish League in 1933. This was overshadowed by his two full Scottish caps, both against the Irish, in 1932 and 1933.
Played in the 1935 Scottish Cup Final for Hamilton against Rangers. Improved terms were offered to him, £4 per week, an increase of £1. By 1937 Bobby Reid was on the left wing and Jimmy had moved to the right and that was his role when a crowd of 28,690 turned up at Douglas Park on a Wednesday afternoon on 3 March to witness a Scottish Cup tie with Heart of Midlothian.
He was a tremendous servant to Hamilton and remained with them until 1939 when Jimmy McStay took him to Alloa Athletic to assist in their efforts to stay in the top League. With only five games played war broke out.
One of his son's, Johnny, played for Hamilton during the 1960s at centre forward. Another, Eddie, was signed by Hibernian while an inside left with Wishaw Juniors, while Jimmy, junior, turned out as junior with Douglasdale Juniors, Bellshill Athletic and Royal Albert.
Jimmy died in March 1985 at the age of 79, after a long illness. His son, Jimmy, was present at a Hall of Fame Dinner in February 2002 when his father was named as one of the four best ever Hamilton player. Appropriately, he was known to the Hamilton Academical support as King James.