Illinois Wesleyan University alum Jack Sikma has had a whirlwind few weeks.
The NBA team he consults, the Toronto Raptors, just won the league championship. He’s also preparing for his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in September.
“It’s humbling,” Sikma said. “A lot of looking back at my life and thinking about all of the different people who had an effect on not just my life but particularly with basketball.
“It can get a little overwhelming.”
Sikma is the keynote speaker at the Bloomington-Normal YMCA Legacy dinner at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Bloomington Country Club.
At the top of the list of those who aided his basketball career was his coach at IWU, Dennie Bridges.
“(I) trusted coach, who just said, ‘Jack, I don’t know how good you can be but we are going to find out if you are willing to put in the work and I’ll make that commitment to you and I’ll do whatever I can to help you achieve your goals,’” he said. “That’s what worked out.”
Sikma was a seven-time NBA All-Star in his 14 seasons and won an NBA title with the Seattle Supersonics in only his second year in the league. That came after a distinguished collegiate career at IWU in which he was named an NAIA All-American three times.
Bridges helped him develop his inside pivot jump shot which simply became known throughout the NBA as the “Sikma Move.”
“I needed to find something which was effective in the post where it wasn’t necessarily a power move but a move that fit my skillset,” Sikma said, noting he was 6-feet-10 and under 200 pounds while at IWU.
That signature move, coupled with his long curly blond hair, became Sikma’s trademarks. For his part, the St. Anne native wants to be remembered for his durability and versatility on the court.
“I played in the era when there were a lot of great centers,” he said, rattling off the names of Hall-of-Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Artis Gilmore, Robert Parish and others. “I appreciate the opportunity to compete against such great players at the highest level and it make me a better player because of it.”
Sikma’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame is set for Sept. 5-7 in Springfield, Mass.
This Saturday, Sikma will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Fellow IWU alum Wayne Messmer will sing The Star-Spangled Banner.
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