A sweet-shooting forward, Wilkes won championships at Santa Barbara High School, UCLA and with Golden State as the 1975 Rookie of the Year prior to his three rings in Los Angeles, making him one of the most accomplished basketball players in history.
“Anyone who truly knows and loves the game of basketball surely recognizes what a special and gifted player Jamaal Wilkes was,” said Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss. “A rare combination of selflessness and grace, Jamaal made the game look effortless. It’s easy to forget that Jamaal averaged 20-plus points during our 1980 and 1982 championship seasons.
“Many also don’t recall that he scored 37 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the decisive Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals. He was overlooked by some because he put the team first, the individual second and let others shine. It is now time for Jamaal to shine, and we congratulate him on this long overdue and much deserved honor.”
Two college titles came alongside Bill Walton under legendary coach John Wooden at UCLA, while his 12 professional seasons carried a similar degree of success.
From 1975 to 1987, Wilkes averaged 17.7 points per game towards 14,664 in his career, plus an average of 6.2 boards, 5,117 for his career. A three-time All-Star (1976, 1981, 1983), Wilkes was also named to the NBA All-Defensive team on two occasions. He averaged 16.1 points per game in 113 playoff games, never shying from big moments.