Future Hall of Famer, Dominique Wilkins, is one of only 9 players to score more than 25,000 points throughout his NBA career.
Born on January 12,1960 in Sorbonne, France as the second eldest in a military family of 8, Jacques Dominique Wilkins discovered his talent and passion for basketball at an early age. Dominique quickly became one of the NBA's best players earning the nickname, 'Human Highlight Film' and 'Zoid' for his energetic and spectacular acrobatic moves on court dating as far back as his high school years.
Dominique graduated from high school in Washington, North Carolina in 1978. There he was named to seven All America teams excelling in both basketball and track. Dominique's high school athletic career was just the beginning of this his journey towards greatness.
While playing at the University of Georgia, Dominique, the three-time All-SEC player earned the MVP award at the SEC Tournament. And, in 1982 he went on to earn first-team All America (NBA Coaches, Basketball Times and Basketball Weekly) and second-team honors from the Associated Press. He ended his collegiate career as Georgia's all-time leading scorer averaging 21.6 points and 7.5 rebounds. This was only a preview of his skill and determination to becoming one of the best in the league.
In 1982, Dominique Wilkins entered the draft as an early entry candidate after leaving the University of Georgia at the end of his junior year. He was a first-round choice (third pick overall) for Utah in the draft. He refused to sign with the Jazz, however, and was dealt to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for John Drew, Freeman Williams and money. The former University of Georgia star and future 'Human Highlight Film' quickly earned a spot unanimously on the 1982-83 NBA All-Rookie Team by averaging 17.5 points per game.
*In 1982, he was drafted by the Utah Jazz as the third overall pick. But, he refused to sign with them. Consequently, the Jazz traded him to the Atlanta Hawks for John Drew, Freeman Williams and monetary compensation.
In 1983-84, Dominique finished sixth in the league in scoring with 27.4 points per game and the Hawks finished fifth in the Central Division with a 34-48 record.
In 1984-85, Dominique won his first Gatorade Slam Dunk Contest in the All Star Games and was placed sixth in league scoring
In the 1985-86 season, he led the league in scoring with 2,366 points (30.3 average points per game), made his first All-Star appearance and was named to the first-team All-NBA squad. He also earned NBA Player of the Month. During the 1986 playoffs series game against Detroit, Dominique set records with an amazing 50 points, 19 field goals and 15 free throws.
In the 1986-87 season, he finished second in the league in scoring with an average of 29 points per game. He was selected as an NBA All-Star for the second time in his career and was named runner up in the Slam Dunk contest. Additionally, he scored his 10,000th point and earned the title of NBA Player of the Week.
In the 1987-88 season, he was selected as an All-Star for the third time in his career and was named runner up in the Slam Dunk contest as well as scoring an All-Star Game high of 29 points. With Wilkins leading the team as the second-leading scorer in the NBA, the Hawks had three straight seasons in which the Hawks had claimed 50 or more wins. The Hawks made a strong run in the playoffs but were never able to get past the conference semifinals in each of the previous three seasons despite Dominique's determination and drive. NBA fans will long remember the point-for-point, basket-for-basket duel between Dominique and Larry Bird in the fourth quarter of game 7 during the 1987-88 NBA Finals. It was one of the most exciting moments in NBA history and according to Dominique one of his most memorable as an athlete.
In the 1988-89 season, Dominique was selected as an All-Star for the fourth time in his career and garnered second-team All-NBA honors marking another fantastic season for Atlanta's own 'Human Highlight Film'. He was seventh in the NBA in scoring with an average of 26.2 points per game and scored a season-high of 41 points on two occasions.
In the 1989-1990 season, Dominique was selected as an All-Star for the fifth time in his career and won his second Slam Dunk Title. He was fifth in the NBA in scoring with an average of 26.7 points per game and lead the Hawks in steals at 126.
In the 1990-91 season, Dominique was selected for the sixth time to the All-Star team. He also achieved the honor of Player of the Week (in January) and Month (in February). While leading the Hawks in scoring for the eighth straight season, Dominique led his team for the first time in rebounding with a 9.0 average and finished third in assists.
During the 1991-92 season, Dominique appeared in his seventh All-Star game. Unfortunately, his season was halted by his first major injury in his career. On January 28th while playing against Philadelphia, Dominique ruptured his Achilles tendon in the second quarter forcing him to miss the All-Star Game and the last forty games of the season. He underwent surgery successfully on January 30 at the Hughston Sports Medicine Hospital in Columbus. For the first time in his career, as a result of his injury, he did not rank among the NBA leaders (except for FT percentage). Before his injury, his 28.1 scoring average was his highest in five years, and the 52 points against New York were the most scored by any player that year and making it the sixth highest in team history.
The 1992-93 was one of Dominique's best as an Atlanta Hawk. He returned to the court after his career-threatening Achilles injury to score his 20,000th point with a one-handed baseline jumper in the season opener against New York and become only the 17th NBA player to do so. He also set an NBA record by sinking 23 free throws in a game without a miss and he set career and team highs in three-pointers with 120 for the season. Plus, he made his eighth trip to the All-Star Game. And, on February 2nd against Seattle, Dominique broke Bob Pettit's record as the all-time leading scorer in franchise history with 20,880 points and was named the NBA Player of the Month. He ended the season with an unbelievable 22,096 points, 10 double-doubles and was the recipient of the Victor Award for being the comeback player of the year.
In 1993-94, Dominique was again voted into the NBA All-Star Game for the ninth time and became the NBA's 10th all-time leading scorer with 23,150 points. He was also named Elder Statesman of the Dream Team. Just five days later, he becomes the ninth all-time leading scorer with 23,178 points. On February 24, 1994 the Hawks made the often disputed and controversial decision to trade their 'Human Highlight Film' midseason to the LA Clippers for Danny Manning, ending #21's phenomenal 12-year career as an Atlanta Hawk.
The sudden and unexpected trade to the Clippers made not only the fans uncomfortable but also Dominique. The changing of the guard, so to speak, changed the Hawks and the future Hall of Famer forever. The seasons that followed showed his uncertainty and resulted in him moving from one team to another trying to find the right fit. His level of determination and skill hadn't changed, he was still one of the best but his heart was in Atlanta. In 1994-95, Dominique signed with the Boston Celtics as a free agent. Unhappy with his role and new environment he decided to play overseas, so in 1995-96, Dominique signed with Panathinkaikos Athens of the Greek League. He averaged 20.9 points and 7.0 rebounds in 14 games and led the team to the European Championship for Men's Clubs. He was named the MVP of the European Final Four in Paris. Despite his success, he wanted to return to the NBA so in 1996-97, he signed a contract with the San Antonio Spurs. Dominique led the team with an average of 18.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He returned overseas in 1997-98 to play with Teamsystem in Italy. And, then in 1998-99 played for the Orlando Magic before his retirement. When Dominique left the NBA after the 1998-99 season, he ranked eighth on the all-time scoring list with 26,668 points and 10th in career scoring average at 24.8 points per game,
In August 2000, the Atlanta Hawks hired Dominique Wilkins as the Assistant to the Executive Vice President.
On Saturday, January 13, 2001 the Atlanta Hawks retired Dominique Wilkins #21 Jersey where his achievements will be forever remembered.
In 2002, the Atlanta Hawks begin reproduction and sales for the Dominique Wilkins #21 replica jersey due to demand.
Playoff Highs. Dominique Wilkins played in a total of 51 playoff games during his NBA career scoring an incredible 1,345 points. He also holds rank for 332 rebounds, 135 assists, 488 field goals made, 350 free throws made and is an all-time franchise leader with a scoring average of 26.4 points per game. His career playoff average of 26.4 points is the 6th highest among NBA all-time playoff leaders.