J. Dominique Wilkins is a legendary professional basketball player who began his career playing for the Atlanta Hawks. Wilkins was a nine-time NBA All-Star, and one of the all-time elite scoring machines in NBA history, living up to his college nickname “The Human Highlight Film.” In 2006, Wilkins’ career was immortalized and celebrated with his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Wilkins, the son of a military family, was born in Paris, France where his father was stationed. Wilkins’ family then moved to Dallas and Baltimore before settling in Washington, North Carolina, where he attended Washington High School. He was the back-to-back MVP for the team’s consecutive Class 3-A State Championships (1978-1979). Over the four years, the team went an unprecedented 76-2. He entered the University of Georgia in 1979 to the complete shock of every resident of North Carolina. Wilkins averaged 21.6 points a game over his career and was named SEC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year in 1981. He left college after his junior year and was selected third overall (behind James Worthy and Terry Cummings) by the Utah Jazz in the 1982 NBA Draft.
Wilkins reluctance to play with the Jazz, led to his trade to the Atlanta Hawks several months after the draft. Despite Wilkins not wanting to play in Utah the trade is now considered among the most lopsided deals in NBA history considering Wilkins’ legendary career. Prior to his last three NBA seasons, Wilkins never averaged fewer than 20 points per game and captured a scoring title in 1985-86 with an average of 30.3 points per game. Wilkins, in addition to his eleven seasons with the Hawks, had short stints with several other NBA clubs as well as ringing up a Euro Cup Championship. He finally retired in 1999 with record stats that still remain unbroken today.
Wilkins was instrumental in the Hawks’ prominence in the 1980s, when the club recorded four consecutive 50-win seasons during the decade. A nine-time NBA All-Star and the winner of two NBA slam dunk contests; Wilkins registered 26,668 points and 7,169 rebounds in his NBA career. As a basketball player he was known as an acrobatic scorer, an outstanding finisher and one of the greatest dunkers in NBA history. His #21 jersey was retired by the Hawks on January 13, 2001. He is one of four players whose jerseys have been retired by the Hawks.
Wilkins currently serves as the Hawks’ Vice President of Basketball Operations, where he transfers his basketball passion and knowledge to the next generation of elite NBA athletes.