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Lakers Moments: Jamaal Wilkes is smooth as silk

Silk Stay slick: Lakers forwad Jamaal Wilkes is double-teamed by Portland Trail Blazers during a game on Jan. 4, 1985. Los Angeles went on to win it, 120-95.

It was Wilkes’ blessing and bane that he played alongside, and was often overshadowed by, some of the game’s greatest players. For instance, very few people remember that Wilkes scored 37 points in the clinching game of the 1980 Finals for the Lakers; what they remember is Magic Johnson scoring 42 points while playing all five positions.

Still, it was with the Lakers that Wilkes had his greatest success, winning three NBA titles while displaying the cool consistency that earned him the nickname "Silk." An outstanding shooter, Wilkes was so consistent from the outside that Chick Hearn dubbed his jump shot the “20-foot layup."

Wilkes played 12 professional seasons, averaging 18 points during the regular season and 16 during 113 playoff games. Given his body of work -- two national championships, four NBA titles, rookie of the year, three All-Star game appearances, twice named to the all-defensive team -- there are many who feel that Wilkes is the best player not in the Hall of Fame.

Read more about Jamaal Wilkes and where he ranks for the team's career steals in All Things Lakers, the L.A. Times' interactive database of all things purple and gold.

Join the Lakers at L.A. Times Facebook page.

-- Steve Lowery

Photo: Los Angeles Times

 
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