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Jamaal Wilkes to be inducted into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

April 02, 2012|By Mark Medina
  • Former college and NBA star Jamaal Wilkes shakes hands with CBS announcer Jim Nantz, left, as he is introduced as a Naismith memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee at a news conference in New Orleans on Monday.
Former college and NBA star Jamaal Wilkes shakes hands with CBS announcer… (Gerald Herbert / Associated…)

Jamaal Wilkes remained blessed and cursed for playing for great teams.

He was blessed with the Lakers (1977-85) as he helped them win three NBA titles, but he was cursed because his contributions were overshadowed by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He was blessed to be a part of the UCLA teams that won 88 consecutive games and two NCAA championships. But Bill Walton carried the spotlight.

But Wilkes' efforts will hardly go unnoticed Sept. 7 in Springfield, Mass., where he will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, according to a Monday announcement. Wilkes will become the Lakers' 24th Hall of Famer, which includes 17 players, four head coaches, one assistant coach and two contributors.

One of Wilkes' most memorable games happened in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals, when he posted 37 points and 10 rebounds. Fittingly enough, that was overshadowed by Johnson starting at center in place of an injured Abdul-Jabbar and posting 42 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. Still, Wilkes' consistency earned him the nickname "Silk," while the late Chick Hearn described him as the "20-foot layup" for his reliable outside shot. 

But Wilkes provided much more than that.

In his 12-year NBA career,  Wilkes averaged 18 points, won four NBA titles, won rookie of the year honors, became a three-time All-Star and earned was twice named to the all-defensive team. He can now add a Hall of Fame inductee in his already accomplished resume. 

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