Wilkes gets his place in Naismith Hall of Fame

Jamaal Wilkes

Jamaal Wilkes, left, flanks longtime Lakers assistant coach Bill Bertka with Rick Wilson, right, at a 2010 Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table event.

Santa Barbara basketball fans should feel some hometown pride regarding Friday’s James Naismith Basketball Hall-of-Fame Induction Ceremony as Santa Barbara High graduate Jamaal Wilkes takes his place in basketball immortality thanks to a career that included wearing the Dons’ Olive and Gold.

“I had a lot of great memories on and off the court going to school here and living here in Santa Barbara,” Wilkes said while visiting campus in May supporting a renovation project for the aged JR Richards Gynasium.

Wilkes starred at Santa Barbara High in the late 1960’s before playing for John Wooden at UCLA. Wilkes continued on to have a decorated NBA career, which included three all-star appearances and four NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.?He won two NCAA titles at UCLA and was a part of UCLA?s storied 88-game winning streak.

Wilkes learned in April that he would be inducted after several years of being eligible but not getting enough votes.

“I’m definitely still reveling in it,” Wilkes said several weeks later during his visit to Santa Barbara. “It’s a truly humbling honor, exciting, and exhausting too. I kind of have just gotten past the first wave of it. Now I’m ready for the second wave.”

That second wave includes a presentation Hall of Fame players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (’95), Earvin ?Magic? Johnson (’02), Rick Barry (’87) and Bill Walton (’93) at Friday’s ceremony.

Wilkes will also have his Los Angeles Lakers jersey retired at Staples this season. The Lakers just announced the date would be Friday, December 28 against the Portland Trailblazers.

The Lakers are also honoring Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul Jabbar this season.

12-member Hall of Fame Class of 2012

Jamaal Wilkes – Player
Reggie Miller – Player
Don Nelson – Coach
Ralph Sampson – Player
All American Red Heads – Team
Hank Nichols – Official
Mel Daniels – Player
Lidia Alexeeva – Coach
Chet Walker – Player
Katrina McClain – Olympian
Phil Knight – Contributor
Don Barksdale – Pioneer