Pacers teammates surprised Damien Wilkins at birthday celebration

Damien Wilkins, known as the wise vet in the Pacers’ locker room, celebrated his 38th birthday on Thursday.

This comes a few weeks after he learned that his fiancé would be having a boy — Baby Zion, due in May — and four days after the Pacers waived him before his contract became guaranteed for the remainder of the season.

Icing on his birthday cake was being surprised by more than half of the players, plus several other support staff, at a birthday get together in Indy organized by his Jasmine, his fiancé.

Wilkins has been universally praised in the locker room for being a true pro and beyond that, for being a great sounding board for the young guys.

“I look up to him in every aspect of the game really, just his approach,” Myles Turner said. “He’s legit the first one here every morning. Like two, three hours before practice, he gets his work in. He’s in the weight room every day. He’s just a true professional and that’s one of the things I really appreciated and I took away from him.”

[VIDEO: Wilkins discusses the mysterious gender reveal his fiancé pulled off and how it went viral]

Wilkins had been out of the league since 2013 but admirably maintained his focus and drive to return to the league, and he ultimately did by playing for the first coach he ever played for in Nate McMillan.

“I’m going to be here,” Wilkins said Sunday after talking with team officials. He wasn’t sure what was next for him, but there’s a chance the Pacers could bring him back on a 10-day contract, for example. “Shoot, I don’t know. I’ll be here. I’ll probably sneak in the gym over here at night when no ones here.”

Oladipo on the impact of Wilkins, who he refers to as “vet”: “I think a little bit of everywhere. He’s done a great job of just being that vocal leader on and off the floor. He’s just done a great job of using his experience to relate to others and relate to us younger guys.”

2 Responses to Pacers teammates surprised Damien Wilkins at birthday celebration
  1. Michael Bradbury
    January 12, 2018 | 8:33 am

    Pro sports is brutal on relationships. It’s a shame we can’t keep this ultimate pro in some capacity.

    • Scott Agness
      January 12, 2018 | 11:22 pm

      They may. Can still bring him back. Stay tuned for a lengthy podcast with Damien.

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