NBA 75 Series: #50 Dominique Wilkins
Updated: Mar 2, 2022
Ranked #50 in my 75 Greatest NBA Players of All Time https://www.djssportsshow.com/post/nba-75-greatest-players-of-all-time is one of the most ferocious dunker in NBA history, and that is Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins. Wilkins was born on January 12, 1960, in Paris, France, to his mother Gertrude Baker and John Wilkins. His father was an airman in the U.S. Air Force in France where Wilkins was born. His family settled in Washington, North Carolina after making stops in Dallas and Baltimore, where he would attend Washington High School.
Wilkins made his mark while at Washington High School, helping lead them to back-to-back Class 3A state championships (1978-1979), while being named MVP in both. He would be selected to the highest honor a high basketball player could reach, being named a McDonald’s All-American in 1979.
From there, Wilkins would go on to attend the University of Georgia and become a Bulldog, a school universally known for Football. He would go on to have an extraordinary career at Georgia, becoming the school’s all-time scoring leader with averages of 21.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, and be named three-time All-SEC. He would also win SEC Player of the Year and be named the conference’s tournament MVP.
After a dominant collegiate career, Wilkins decided to forego his senior year of college and enter his name in the 1982 NBA Draft where he would go on to be selected third overall by the Utah Jazz, but refused to play in Utah, resulting in him getting traded to the Atlanta Hawks for John Drew, Freeman Williams and $1 million in cash prior to his rookie season.
He would average 17.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and a steal per game on 49.5% shooting from the field. He would show just a glimpse of what he would ultimately become, being known as “The Human Highlight Film” due to his violent assault on the rim and his opponents. Dominique Wilkins was one of the most prolific scorers and iconic dunkers in league history. He helped bring excitement to the Atlanta Hawks franchise after helping them become a contender in the Eastern Conference. He averaged 25 points per game for a decade which helped him become the Hawks all-time leading scorer with 23,292 points, and currently ranks 14th all-time with 26,668 points.
He had one of the most legendary duels of all-time with his contemporary Larry Bird in the 1988 Conference Semifinals, which included a 47 point performance in Game 7, to Bird’s 34 in a losing effort to the Celtics. He averaged 31.2 ppg during that postseason run and gained additional league wide respect as a result. He participated in few of the most iconic dunk contests of all-time, coming up victorious twice (1985, 1990), including a duel for the ages against Jordan in 1988.
Wilkins helped lead the Hawks to four straight 50-win seasons from 1985-89. During that span, he poured in more than 30 points per game twice, including the scoring title (1986), and for the four years combined he averaged 29.1 ppg. Nique is one of 22 players to score over 25,000 career points, is a nine-time All-Star, and seven-time All-NBA selection.
Despite not winning a title, Nique is one of the most ferocious punishers in NBA history and one of the best scorers the league has seen. It was a travesty he didn’t make the original NBA at 50 list, but, he gets his rightful place on the NBA 75 list.