Wilkes' supporting character was epitomized in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA finals. He had 37 points and 10 rebounds in a spectacular game, but was thoroughly overshadowed by Johnson's 42 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in the title-clinching win.
Wilkes scored 14,664 points before retiring after a few games with the Clippers in 1985.
Wilkes still isn't done being honored. Santa Barbara High School will retire his jersey next month, and his face is a prominent feature at the freshly renovated Pauley Pavilion on UCLA's campus, where he's still a wildly popular figure even though both of his sons played college ball at California.
All of the attention is unusual to the soft-spoken star, but he's handling it just fine.
"I had kind of got used to being a private citizen, and now I'm front and center," Wilkes said. "I think the fact that it is a yearlong merry-go-round makes it more special for me."
The Lakers hadn't retired a number since Gail Goodrich's No. 25 went on the wall in 1996, but they aren't done for the season: Shaquille O'Neal's No. 34 goes up April 2.