Jamaal Wilkes Rumors
“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.
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.
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.”
Five-time All-Star Reggie Miller and longtime coach Don Nelson are among a dozen players, coaches and teams that will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2012 was announced Monday in New Orleans, the site of the Final Four. Also elected were two-time Olympic gold medalist Katrina McClain, three-time college player of the year Ralph Sampson, four-time NBA champion Jamaal Wilkes, longtime referee Hank Nichols, and the All-American Red Heads, the female version of the Harlem Globetrotters.
A former NBA player could sneak in, elected via the ABA selection (though their biggest mark would have come in the now-defunct league) or the Early African -American Pioneers of the Game committee, the two groups Colangelo helped develop. Both committees were given the unique ability to choose one person for automatic induction, without having to become a finalist and then receive at least 18 of 24 votes for enshrinement. It’s often pointed out, by those around the NBA, that the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame is not the NBA Hall of Fame. We’ll find out Monday, when the inductees are revealed at collge basketball’s Final Four, whether the NBA will be represented at all this fall in Springfield, Mass.
Maybe one of the players previously passed over for enshrinement finally joins the Hall of Fame when the Class of 2011 is revealed Monday in Houston. That would fit well with the drive of Jerry Colangelo to ensure that candidates from the past do not get lost in the ages. The Hall chairman sees that as enough of a priority that he helped create a pair of old-timers’ committees that are each guaranteed one inductee a year. Or not. Maybe Chris Mullin, Dennis Rodman, Jamaal Wilkes, Maurice Cheeks and Ralph Sampson have another round of disappointment and no player with deep NBA roots get in this year. That would fit well with history — each has failed in previous bids, some several times. Mullin has missed five times in a row. He’ll be off the ballot the next five years if he is not elected this time.
Reggie Miller, believed to have been a leading candidate in his first year of eligibility, was not among the finalists. Miller, a five-time All Star, played his entire 18-year career with the Indiana Pacers and held the N.B.A.’s record for 3-pointers until Ray Allen broke it last week. “Reggie Miller, that guy’s a Hall of Famer,” said Bill Walton, who, like Miller, is a former U.C.L.A. great. “The Hall of Fame is about history, it’s about changing the course of history. I am flabbergasted, flabbergasted on a lot of fronts. Flabbergasted that Jamaal Wilkes is not already in the Hall of Fame, flabbergasted that Reggie Miller is not front and center here today. If I was in charge, things would be different.”