Jamaal Wilkes Rumors
“The best argument can be made for Kobe because he won with two different teams, one with Shaq and one with Pau, where Magic won all of his with Kareem,” former Lakers forward Jamaal Wilkes told USA TODAY Sports. “So that’s why I think a strong argument can be made for Kobe being the greatest Laker ever.”
Jamaal Wilkes said he’s proud to be an American and wants law and order while at the same time seeing the need for change in the wake of demonstrations after the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. “I’m not an activist. I’m not in the guts of the stuff, but we need some kind of reform with the police department (while) recognizing that the majority are good police,” Wilkes said in a recent conversation with the Bay Area News Group’s Wes Goldberg. “And they are probably as sick and embarrassed and disgusted with the Floyd incident as most of the country is.”
The Floyd murder during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jamaal Wilkes: “On one hand, it was very shocking and disturbing. On the other hand, it’s nothing new . . . it was unbelievable. It was horrible and no one could deny it because there was footage. That, along there being no sports, brought it to a head. I think that all lives matter, of course, but it’s only black lives that are being murdered. We can no longer tip-toe or ignore the elephant in the room, which is systemic racism, white privilege.”
If returning to play would dilute the message of the protest. Jamaal Wilkes: “They have to resume their season as soon as they can. First and foremost, it’s their job. That’s what they do. I don’t know if the NBA per se has to do anything because I think they’ve been the most progressive sports league that I’m aware of. But what the NBA does best is play basketball. That’s what they need to get back to.”
Jamaal Wilkes was a proud Black American who always stood for the national anthem and supported the work of the police to keep the community safe. So what was Wilkes doing in handcuffs at a downtown L.A. street corner on a December night in 1990? He was wondering the same thing. He was driving home from his office on Wilshire Boulevard when two LAPD officers pulled him over, ordered him out of his car, and cuffed him with no reasonable explanation. They said something about his license tags being about to expire. Eventually, they let him go on his way, but the humiliation stayed with him a long time. It was an egregious case of a person being detained simply for driving while Black.
Wilkes filed a complaint but did not follow up on it because, three months later, the brutal beating of Rodney King by four L.A. policemen was captured on video. That incident, Wilkes figured, would make an irrefutable case that the LAPD needed to purge racist behavior from its ranks. A year later, all four officers were acquitted, setting off a horrific five-day riot. “I was shocked by the verdict,” Wilkes told me. “I was further shocked by the riots.”
“Standing there handcuffed, I felt like a common thug,” he said. “What hurt me most was that I was on their side. I’ve always been a supporter of law enforcement. But their treatment of me was arrogant and distasteful. They acted like I was dangerous. The way they handled things, it could have gotten ugly. If I got angry and said, ‘Why are you doing this?’ it might have started something. I realized how easily police brutality could happen. It made me more sympathetic toward the common guy who isn’t famous and gets into a situation like that.”