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Lakers to retire Jamaal Wilkes' number next season

April 02, 2012|By Mark Medina
  • Jamaal Wilkes, an All-American at UCLA and an NBA All-Star with the Lakers, will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame later this year.
Jamaal Wilkes, an All-American at UCLA and an NBA All-Star with the Lakers,… (Joe Nicholson / For The Times )

Former Laker Jamaal Wilkes received two doses of good news Monday. One involves the NBA's announcement that he will be inducted Sept. 8 in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The second involves how the Lakers will pay tribute to him.

"We will retire his jersey at some point next season," Lakers spokesman John Black said. "We'll look to book a date after the schedule comes out at some point late in the summer."

Wilkes and his No. 52 jersey will join Wilt Chamberlain (No. 13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Earvin "Magic" Johnson (32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), James Worthy (42) and Jerry West (44). All seven of those players are also members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In Wilkes' eight-year stint with the Lakers (1977-85), he helped the Lakers win three NBA titles (1980, 1982, 1985). He is 10th in team history in career points (10,601) and ninth in steals (706). 

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 his reliable outside shot as the "20-foot layup."

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Lakers to retire Jamaal Wilkes' number next season

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