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June 08, 2015
June 08, 2015

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June 8, 2015

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By WITH HOST Maggie Gray

JAMAAL WILKES

This is an article from the June 8, 2015 issue

The four-time NBA champ and Hall of Famer won his first title as a rookie with Golden State in 1975. He talked with us about that season and how much today's Warriors are like his old team.

MAGGIE GRAY: Paint the picture for us. In 1975 you win an NBA title with Golden State. What was it like?

JAMAAL WILKES: It was awesome. The A's and the Raiders were winning a lot, so we really wanted to win but weren't expected to. Coach Al Attles was playing 10 guys, and we had an MVP candidate in Rick Barry. This current Warriors team reminds me a lot of our team.

MG: In what way?

JW: They don't care who gets the credit. They just get the job done. And they're fun to watch. They can get down by 20, 30 points, and that's nothing.

MG: What will be the biggest challenge to Golden State's winning it all?

JW: Simple answer—one man: LeBron James.

MG: Do you notice anything from when you were playing with Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] and with Magic [Johnson] that you see in James?

JW: He's a fine passer. I don't think he's as good as Magic, but he's close. I think he's a better scorer than Earvin was. LeBron can influence the game with his passing.

MG: Some people say Harrison Barnes has some shades of you in him. Do you see any?

JW: I do. I played power forward opposite Rick Barry. My natural position is small forward, and that's maybe Barnes's natural position as well. He's played very effectively from the perimeter. They're a very impressive young team.

For more of Wilkes's interview, plus the SI Now archive, go to SI.com/video

"LeBron and Steph Curry will do their thing, but the other players will decide this series."
—Jamaal Wilkes

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PHOTONBA PHOTOS/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (WILKES)PHOTOROBERT LABERGE/GETTY IMAGES (MONTOYA)PHOTOTAYLOR HILL/GETTY IMAGES (CHASTAIN)PHOTOJOHN LAMPARSKI/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES (FERRARA)PHOTOTIM MOSENFELDER/GETTY IMAGES (BREUER)PHOTO