Wizards

LA Lakers retire Jamaal Wilkes' No. 52 jersey

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LA Lakers retire Jamaal Wilkes' No. 52 jersey

LOS ANGELES (AP) Jamaal Wilkes spent most of his successful basketball career as a remarkable supporting player.

The Los Angeles Lakers felt it was time to put Silk under the spotlight.

Wilkes' jersey was retired by the Lakers on Friday night, putting the smooth scorer in company with the franchise's Hall of Fame stars on the walls high above Staples Center.

Wilkes was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year. The Lakers, who only retire Hall of Famers' jerseys, formally hung his No. 52 next to Magic Johnson's No. 32 during halftime of their game against Portland.

``I think it says a lot about the Laker tradition,'' Wilkes said. ``They've had some awesome basketball players, and now I'm one of them. Being front and center, and now I look in the mirror, and I go, `Wow.' It's cool, and yet it's emotional for me.''

Wilkes was visibly touched by the honor, choking up while thanking his fellow Lakers greats amid several big ovations from the sellout crowd. Jerry West, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Elgin Baylor all showed up to support their fellow Lakers honoree.

``I'm just enjoying it,'' Wilkes said. ``I think months later, it will hit me, the true significance of it all.''

The 59-year-old Wilkes is a California native who starred at UCLA before winning his first NBA championship as a rookie at Golden State. He was a key supporting player on three Lakers title-winning teams of the 1980s, with a jumper that was as unorthodox as it was reliable.

A supporting role never bothered the former Keith Wilkes, who won a title as an NBA rookie alongside Rick Barry and Clifford Ray at Golden State before adding three more rings in Los Angeles.

``I always prided myself on winning,'' Wilkes said. ``I learned at a very young age, you can debate who the best player was or wasn't, but you can't debate who won or lost. So that's where my priorities went, and I played with some pretty good players along the way. I like to think that they made me better, and I made them better because I was able to adapt to different situations, and I was a good influence in the locker room.''

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.

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

RELATED: DURANT MAKES HUGE DONATION TO PG COUNTY SCHOOLS

Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.