Jamaal Wilkes Rumors
Wilkes played with Bill Walton in college, then won championships with the Rick Barry Warriors and, more famously, the “Showtime” Lakers. And almost 30 years after wrapping up his career, he takes a look at the NBA franchise that defined him and sees Kobe Bryant in a familiar position: getting old. But these Lakers don’t have Worthy waiting in the wings. “It’s very different,” Wilkes told Sporting News. “He has very little help, and I’m sure he feels like it’s all on him because it has been for the last 18, 19 years. And I’m sure he doesn’t know what to expect from himself or what his body can give him now. But it’s clear that he’s near the end. He’s in the last year of his contract. But physically, he just can’t carry the group more.
“Personally, I’d like to see his minutes cut where he could play the majority of the fourth quarter. But that’s going to be hard for Coach Scott because, Kobe, you think you want Kobe out there all the time. But I think they’ve learned that he just can’t do it all anymore.” This season might be rough, even if Bryant stays healthy. But Wilkes, formerly known as Keith Wilkes, is optimistic. “With the current draft coming up and the picks they have and the cap space they have and with Mitch Kupchak being there in the driver’s seat alongside Jim Buss, I expect to see serious improvement next season, which to me means competing for the playoffs,” he said.
22 Mar 14
When Worthy starred at North Carolina from 1979-82, he wore No. 52. But the forward knew that after being taken by the Lakers with the No. 1 pick in the 1982 draft he wouldn’t be donning that number anymore. “I had worn No. 52 since high school and when I got to Los Angeles Hall of Famer Jamaal Wilkes had it,’’ Worthy said of the Lakers forward who was inducted into the Hall last year, nine years after Worthy had been enshrined. “I was talking to my dad and I said, ‘You know, 52 is out of the question,’ and I thought about 50 or 51.’’
Jamaal Wilkes spoke pregame to the media – emotional from all the recognition. Spoke Lakers… “Playing for the Lakers was just great. From top to bottom they had the leadership, the organization, from Dr. Buss to Bill Sharman, Jerry West, Pat Riley and then the players,” said Wilkes. “We had a real sense of pride in our team’s success. Of course we had issues going on all the time, undercurrents, but we never let it get in the way of our objective, which was to be the best in the NBA and to represent the city of LA the best that we could.”