Dominique Wilkins

Dominique Wilkins

Jacques Dominique Wilkins is a retired professional basketball player who is known as one of the best dunkers in NBA history. He was born on January 12, 1960 in Paris, France as his father was an Air Force Officer who was stationed there at the time of his birth. His family moved back to the United States soon after his birth, where they first relocated to Dallas and Baltimore before settling down in Washington. He attended high school there where he played basketball and was voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for two years straight in the State Championships. He had an outstanding high school record and was also featured in Sports Illustrated magazine. In 1979, he enrolled at the University of Georgia where he was named SEC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year in 1981. In 1982, he was drafted by the National Basketball Association (NBA) by the team Utah Jazz.

Within months, he left Utah and transferred to the Atlanta Hawks. He started off with an extremely impressive record, never averaging fewer than 20 points per game, a record he was to maintain throughout most of his career. During the 1984 – 1985 season, he won his first Slam-Dunk Championship at the NBA All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis. His shooting percentage from the free throw line was never lower than 80 percent for 10 consecutive seasons. He was the also best in the NBA in field goal attempts. However, the Hawks failed to make it to the NBA Playoffs. During the 1985 – 1986 season, Wilkins won the NBA scoring title with an average of 30.3 points per game. He was also voted an NBA All-Star and named to the All-NBA First Team. He was the first Atlanta Hawks player to start in an NBA All-Star Game since 1981.

His team managed to make it to the Playoffs but lost to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Dominique Wilkins record was still spectacular, averaging 28.6 points in the Playoffs and finishing second in overall scoring after Michael Jordan. In the 1987 – 1988 season, he had the highest scoring average of his career with an average of 30.7 points per game. He was named the NBA Player of the Week three times in a single season, making him the first Hawk to win this honor. This was also his third consecutive All-Star appearance. However, he finished second in overall scoring after Michael Jordan and also lost the NBA Slam Dunk Championship to him. His average dropped slightly in the 1989 season but he was again named to the All-Star team.

An injury during the 1991 – 1992 season kept him from playing the entire season, but before that he set an NBA record by making 23 consecutive free throws in one game. He scored the 20,000th point of his career that season, becoming one of only 16 players to have achieved this. The next season, he was voted the NBA Comeback Player of the Year by many sports magazines. The following season he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers after having spent more than 11 seasons with the Hawks. He was 35 years old at the time. When he left the Hawks, he was their all time leading scorer. He became a free agent after the 1993–94 season and then signed on to the Boston Celtics. In 1995, he signed a two year contract with a Greek League. Dominique Wilkins  retired during the 1998 – 1998 season and has since then served as the Hawks’ Vice President of Basketball.

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