Dominique Wilkins Interview

December 22, 2009

Since his playing days that stemmed from the early 80’s to the mid-90’s, a lot has changed with Dominique Wilkins.

The hops are nearly extinct. The flat-top is chopped. The belly is a little bit pudgier.

But one thing remains constant about the Human Highlight Film, he’s still involved with the game of basketball and he’s still working in Hotlanta with the Atlanta Hawks. Wilkins is the same man that was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 after leaving the NBA ranked seventh on the all-time scoring list with 26,534 points and 10th in career scoring average at 25.3 points per game.

On top of these superb accomplishments ‘Nique also won the NBA scoring title in 1986 title by averaging 30.3 points per game and set an NBA record by sinking 23 free throws in a game without a miss in 1992. He’s easily the Atlanta Hawks’ all-time franchise leader in both scoring and steals and was a joy to watch.

Wilkins was originally drafted to the Utah Jazz with the third overall pick in 1982 but had his rights almost immediately traded to Atlanta where he played from 1982-1994. During his tenure in the 404, he led the Hawks to four consecutive 50-win seasons during the decade, which still hasn’t been replicated. In 1994, he was eventually traded to L.A. Clippers, then signed with Boston later that year, played with San Antonio Spurs in 1996, and finished his career out with Orlando in 1999 where he only played 27 games.

With that being said, I don’t think the younger generation is aware of his prowess and his skills have, in a sense, went under-the-radar. Wilkins is the same guy that was snubbed from the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players list in which he showed his dissatisfaction with the ordeal by stating that “The 50 greatest players don’t matter when you’re in the Hall of Fame. We all know that I was not one of the 50 greatest, I was one of the 25 greatest – in my mind.”

Not only was he robbed of a spot on this elusive list for the NBA’s elite, ‘Nique was also involved in a very “questionable” Slam Dunk Contest back in 1988 in the Windy City where the crown was awarded to the city’s basketball darling in Michael Jordan. Jordan was allowed to receive a 50 after completing the same dunk twice while Wilkins clearly completed the more powerful and aggressive dunks that should have easily won, but that’s my own personal opinion.

While Wilkins’ statement is up for debate he does have a valid point. They guy’s resume is astounding!

During a mid-November game against the Detroit Pistons, I caught up with Wilkins to talk basketball…

EW: Are you surprised with how good the Atlanta Hawks have been doing this year? (Ed note: 12-4 at the time…)

DW: Well, I’m not really surprised but we didn’t think we would be out of the gate this early, playing as well as we’re playing but we knew the potential was definitely there because we’ve got good chemistry in the last three years. So being able to keep those guys together has really given us the chance to know each other so to say I thought we’d be this good this early? No but its not surprising.

EW: Is this reminding you of how good you guys were back in the day with your Hawks teams?

DW: Definitely, Definitely. It’s really about getting back to that level and these guys have shown that they are a team to be reckoned with and to continue to grow like we’re growing, we’re a contending team.

EW: Stepping into the Palace (of Auburn Hills) you have to get reminded of some of those old battles with Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn and those guys…

DW: Yeah, but the fortunate thing is that we were playing in an era where there were so many great teams in the East in particular and playing in that Silverdome where it was cold as hell. But it was a fun time to play basketball.

EW: Are there any games that stood out in particular from when you were playing those Pistons?

DW: Well it was the rivalry that we had. The Hawks and Pistons, they were big rivals and I remember the game that we beat them in the Playoffs at home. That really stands out more than the other things I could remember because that was a great series and that was a great team. They went on after that to win big.

*This post can also be viewed at It’s Just Sports!


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