Jamaal Keith Wilkes is one of the most honored UCLA basketball players in
school history, not just for his on-the-court accolades, but also for his academic
prowess and social awareness. A 6-7 three-year (1972-74) starting forward,
Wilkes combined his talents with All-American center, Bill Walton, senior
season). It was at UCLA where famed sportscaster Dick Enberg nicknamed
him “Smooth as Silk” for his smooth style of play.
Individually, he was a two-time consensus basketball All-American (1973-74)
and All-Pac-8 performer (1973-74), and a senior captain in 1974 with Bill
Walton. Wilkes was one of only three Bruins (Walton and Greg Lee, Wilkes’
teammates from 1971-74) in school history to earn Academic All-American
honors for three straight seasons (1972-74). An economics major, Wilkes was
named to the CoSIDA Academic Hall of Fame in 1990.
As in college, Wilkes’ 12-year NBA career was noteworthy for team
championships and individual honors. A first round draft selection (11th overall
pick), Wilkes made an immediate impact with the Golden State Warriors as the
NBA Rookie of the Year for the 1975 NBA Champions.
After three seasons with the Warriors, Wilkes signed with the Los Angeles
Lakers as a free agent. He became an essential member of the Los Angeles
Lakers teams known as Showtime that captured three championship titles in the
early 1980s. His sleek style served him well as a complement to marquee
talents, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Magic Johnson. Wilkes would often finish
passes from Magic Johnson and others with such fluidity on his unorthodox but
smooth corner jump shot that Lakers coach Paul Westhead described it as
"snow falling off a bamboo leaf and legendary Lakers announcer, Chick Hearn,
famously referred to it as the "20 foot layup."
Playing a brilliant career that was often overshadowed by the brilliance of
others, former Los Angeles Lakers' star Jamaal Wilkes was recently given the
ultimate recognition as a member of the Class of 2012 Naismith Basketball Hall
"Anyone who truly knows and loves the game of basketball surely recognizes
what a special and gifted player Jamaal Wilkes was," Lakers' owner Dr. Jerry
Buss said in a statement following the Hall of Fame announcement. "A rare
combination of selflessness and grace, Jamaal made the game look effortless.
It’s easy to forget that Jamaal averaged 20-plus points during our 1980 and
1982 championship seasons...It is now time for Jamaal to shine, and we
congratulate him on this long overdue and much deserved honor."
Following his basketball career in1985, Wilkes, born on May 2, 1953 in
Berkeley, CA, had a seven year career as a mortgage and real estate
consultant beginning with Topa Management. Wilkes obtained his securities
licenses (series 7, 63, & 65) and life insurance license and became a
registered rep with AXA Advisors in 1999. In 2003 Jamaal Wilkes Financial
Advisors (JWFA) was formed. In recent years JWFA has specialized in
investment-grade physical Gold, Silver, and rare U.S. coins, or Precious Metals,
and is a resource to other financial advisors and their clients.
In addition to real estate and financial services, Wilkes adds value due to his
tremendous wealth of experiences in sports, health & wellness, business and
life in general. Wilkes obtained his BS degree in Economics in 1974, and also
completed Professional Designations in General Business and Real Estate from
UCLA Extension in 1988. 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 will also live on in the 1975 classic and cult basketball
film, Cornbread, Earl and Me. Wilkes played the titular character of Cornbread
that also starred the young Laurence Fishburne in his film debut.
Wilkes has been a highly sought after motivational speaker for national
organizations and Fortune 500 corporations. Wilkes has long been active in the
Southern California community. He is a member of the Boys and Girls Club of
America National Hall of Fame, a co-founder of the Jamaal Wilkes UCLA
Unicamp Golf Tournament, a past member of the Board of Directors of the
Western Region United Way, past member the Board of Trustees of the UCLA
Foundation and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles
Urban League. Jamaal Wilkes has three children: Sabreen, a graduate of
UCLA; Omar and Jordan, both graduates of UC Berkeley.
Wilkes’ UCLA coach, the legendary John Wooden, ESPN’s Coach of the
Century and Sporting News’ Greatest Coach of all Time, paid Wilkes his highest
compliment when asked once by the New York Post in 1985 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.”