Basketball Wiki

Jamaal Abdul-Lateef (born Jackson Keith Wilkes on May 2, 1953), better known as Jamaal Wilkes, is a retired American basketball player who played the small forward position and won four NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors. He was a three-time NBA All-Star and the 1975 NBA Rookie of the Year. Wilkes was also a key player on two National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship teams under coach John Wooden for the UCLA Bruins.

Wilkes converted to Islam and legally changed his name to Jamaal Abdul-Lateef in 1975,[1] but he continued to use his birth surname only for purposes of public recognition.[2] On September 7, 2012, Wilkes was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Early life[]

Wilkes was born in Berkeley, California and grew up in Ventura, California.[2][3] His father, L. Leander Wilkes, was a Baptist minister.[2] Wilkes attended Santa Barbara High School.

Playing career[]

One of the smoothest, steadiest and most productive forwards to ever play in the NBA (he possessed a deadly accurate jump shot from the corner that Hall of Fame Laker announcer Chick Hearn dubbed the "20 foot layup") Jamaal "Smooth as Silk" Wilkes won championships at the scholastic, collegiate and professional levels.

Wilkes was an All-America Prep player at Santa Barbara High School (his teammate Don Ford also played in the NBA with the Lakers) in Santa Barbara, California. As a two-time All-American at UCLA, Wilkes teamed with Bill Walton to bring UCLA the 1972 and 1973 NCAA titles, and a third place finish in 1974. As a Bruin, Wilkes was part of UCLA teams that won a record 88 consecutive games. In three years at UCLA, Wilkes averaged 15.0 ppg and 7.4 rpg and shot 51.4 percent from the field. He was a two-time All-Pacific-8 selection (1973–1974),[4] a member of the 1972 NCAA All-Tournament Team, and a three-time first-team Academic All-American (1972–1974).

In March 2007, he was inducted into the Pac-10 Men's Basketball Hall of Honor. In an interview with the New York Post in 1985 and in several public speaking engagements, legendary coach Wooden stated, when asked to describe his ideal player: “I would have the player be a good student, polite, courteous, a good team player, a good defensive player and rebounder, a good inside player and outside shooter. Why not just take Jamaal Wilkes and let it go at that."

In 12 professional seasons with the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers, Wilkes was a member of four NBA championship teams – one with Golden State in 1975, the season he was named Rookie of the Year – and three with the Showtime Lakers (1980, 1982, 1985), though an injury prevented him from playing in the 1985 NBA finals against the Boston Celtics, yet the Lakers' won the series in six games over the Celtics, 4–2. One of the most memorable games of his career was the series clinching Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers; Wilkes had 37 points and 10 rebounds, but was overshadowed by rookie teammate Magic Johnson, who started at center in place of an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and finishing with 42 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. "Jamaal Wilkes had an unbelievable game," said Johnson in 2011. "Everybody talked about my 42 [points], but it was also his [37-point effort]."[5]

For his career, Wilkes registered 14,664 points (17.7 ppg) and 5,117 rebounds (6.2 rpg), averaging 16.1 ppg in 113 postseason games. He played in the 1976, 1981, and 1983 All-Star Games and was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team twice. The Sporting News named Wilkes to its NBA All-Pro Second Team three years. On April 2, 2012, Wilkes was announced as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction class of 2012. He formally entered the Hall on September 7.[6] On December 28, 2012, the Lakers retired Wilkes' jersey, number 52.

Later years[]

Wilkes was hired as vice president of basketball operations by the Los Angeles Stars for the inaugural season of the new American Basketball Association (ABA) in 2000.[7] At Wilkes' request, Wooden also joined the Stars as a consultant.[8]

Personal life[]

Along with being one of the co-authors behind the book and audio course, “Success Under Fire: Lessons For Being Your Best In Crunch Time”, Wilkes became a highly sought after motivational speaker for national organizations and Fortune 500 corporations. Upon his retirement from the NBA, he worked in the real estate and financial services industries in the last 22 years. In 2003, along with business partner Liza Wayne, he founded Jamaal Wilkes Financial Advisors, a firm specializing in wealth management solutions.

Wilkes is a long-time resident of Playa Del Rey, where Lakers owner Jerry Buss and coach Phil Jackson, as well as other Lakers and Clippers players, also reside. He has two sons and a daughter. His oldest son, Omar, graduated from the University of California at Berkeley where he played as shooting guard (6'4") for the basketball team.[9] His youngest, Jordan, also graduated from Berkeley, where he played center (7'0").[10] Only daughter Sabreen graduated from UCLA in 2005 (also playing volleyball for the college) and went on to pursue a modeling and acting career. Wilkes himself made his feature-film debut as Nathaniel "Cornbread" Hamilton in the 1975 basketball-themed drama, Cornbread, Earl and Me.


  1. "Wilkes Wants Name Changed to Jamaal Abdul-Lateef". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Associated Press. July 26, 1975.,3163138&dq=keith-wilkes+jamaal-abdul-lateef&hl=en. Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Cotton, Anthony (February 9, 2981). "Like Snow On A Bamboo Leaf". Sports Illustrated (Time Inc). Archived from the original on March 29, 2012. 
  3. Template:Cite basketball-reference
  4. "Pac-12 Conference 2011–12 Men's Basketball Media Guide". Pac-12 Conference. 2011. p. 119. Retrieved February 9, 2012. 
  5. Medina, Mark (August 29, 2012). "Magic, Kareem among Jamaal Wilkes' presenters at Hall of Fame". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 1, 2012. 
  6. "Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2012" (Press release). Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. April 2, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  7. Shaikin, Bill (August 8, 2000). "Wilkes to Guide Team in ABA Revival". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  8. Crowe, Jerry (January 31, 2001). "Wooden Becomes Star Among the Stars". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 17, 2011. 
  9. Omar Wilkes Cal profile
  10. Jordan Wilkes Cal profile

External links[]


Template:Authority control

NAME Wilkes, Jamaal
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Keith Wilkes, Jackson Keith Wilkes, Jamaal Abdul-Lateef
SHORT DESCRIPTION American basketball player
DATE OF BIRTH May 2, 1953
PLACE OF BIRTH Berkeley, California

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).