Four-time NBA champion Jamaal Wilkes, a forward who starred at UCLA and with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1970s and '80s, is one of 12 basketball legends set to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame today in Springfield, Mass.
Wilkes' list of achievements are certainly Hall-worthy. He was the 1975 NBA Rookie of the Year, a three-time NBA All-Star, a two-time NCAA champion under John Wooden with the Bruins, and had such a smooth jump shot that he was given the nickname "Smooth as Silk." Legendary Lakers announcer Chick Hearn famously referred to his corner jump shot as the "20 foot layup."
Wilkes won an NBA title in his rookie season with the Golden State Warriors before joining the Lakers later in his career, with whom he won NBA titles in 1980, 1982 and 1985. In Game 6 of the 1980 Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wilkes put up 37 points and 10 rebounds. This was the same game that then-rookie point guard Magic Johnson started at center in place of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and scored 42 points with 15 rebounds and 7 assists.
Wilkes converted to Islam in 1975 and legally changed his name to Jamaal Abdul-Lateef, but still uses his birth-given name for public-recognition purposes.
Also being inducted in the 2012 class are Reggie Miller, the NBA's all-time winningest coach Don Nelson, three-time National College Player of the Year Ralph Sampson, two-time Olympic gold medalist Katrina McClain, basketball official and coordinator Hank Nichols and the first women's professional basketball team, the All American Red Heads.
The induction ceremony is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on NBA TV.