The Los Angeles Lakers organization is arguably one of the most successful in professional sports with 16 NBA championship banners hanging in the rafters of the Staples Center and numerous members in the Hall of Fame.
With the Lakers reloading the roster with superstars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard over the summer, the championship tradition may continue in Los Angeles with a few more years left of Kobe Bryant and the team becoming one of the most talented in the league heading into the 2012-13 NBA season.
Now that the Lakers have a bright future once again, the team will honor three legends of the past during the upcoming season with a statue for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar being the main event. The six-time NBA champion will be the fourth member of the Lakers organization to be immortalized with a bronze statue outside of Staples Center alongside the statues of Magic Johnson, Jerry West and broadcaster Chick Hearn.
The two other former Lakers being honored by the team next season will be Shaquille O’Neal and Jamaal Wilkes. Both players will have their numbers retired.
This year will be a big one for Wilkes as he will also be inducted to the Hall of Fame. Wilkes will be one of many Laker Hall of Famers and will be inducted with help of two in particular with former teammates Kareem and Magic as presenters according to Mark Medina of the L.A. Times:
“For much of his otherwise storied career, Jamaal Wilkes willingly conceded the spotlight on the Lakers’ Showtime teams to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“But this time, Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar will let Wilkes take center stage. Wilkes’ former teammates will be presenters Sept. 8 when he’s inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.”
Even though Wilkes wasn’t a superstar-caliber player with the Lakers that gets mentioned alongside Magic, Kareem or James Worthy, the former Laker left quite an impression on the franchise with an impressive resume during his eight years with the organization.
Wilkes won three NBA titles and finished as one of the leaders in points (10,601) and steals (706) for the franchise.
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