LA Lakers retire Jamaal Wilkes' No. 52 jersey

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 28, 2012 at 11:54 pm •  Published: December 28, 2012
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He was also a superb scorer who won two NCAA titles at UCLA alongside Bill Walton before the Warriors drafted him in the first round and promptly won an unlikely NBA title with the slim, 6-foot-6 Wilkes as their power forward.

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.