For much of his otherwise storied career, Jamaal Wilkes willingly conceded the spotlight on the Lakers' Showtime teams to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
But this time, Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar will let Wilkes take center stage. Wilkes' former teammates will be presenters Sept. 8 when he's inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Rick Barry, who played with Wilkes on the Golden State Warriors, will also be a presenter. So too will Wilkes' former UCLA teammate, Bill Walton. NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper first presented the complete list of presenters.
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).
Wilkes is probably most remembered for his performance in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers, where he posted 37 points and 10 rebounds. Yet, Johnson overshadowed that by starting at center in place of an injured Abdul-Jabbar and finishing with 42 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.
"Jamaal Wilkes had an unbelievable game," Johnson said last year at an event at LMU. "Everybody talked about my 42 [points], but it was also his [37-point effort]."
Meanwhile, Abdul-Jabbar partly credited Wilkes for making it easier for him to encounter swarming defense.
"Luckily I had guys like Jamaal Wilkes, Norm Nixon and Byron Scott to pass out to the perimeter," Abdul-Jabbar said last November. "They would knock down those shots and make it miserable for the people trying to double-team me."
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