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
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