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Jacques Dominique Wilkins was born on January 12, 1960 in Sorbonne, France. He would be the second oldest of 8 total children. Dominique's father was a military man, and taught discipline to his children. Also, due to his occupation, the Wilkins' were forced to relocate several times. By the age of 15, the boy who would turn into the "Human Highlight Reel" had lived in three different countries and ten different cities. In 1978 Nique graduated from high school in Washington, North Carolina. He went on to attend the University of Georgia, where Dominique would begin to show his domination of the hardwood.

At University, Nique would showcase his skills. In his first three seasons playing collegiate ball he was named to the All-SEC team, after his junior year he was named as a member of the All America first-team. He would decide to enter the NBA draft a season early. At the end of his three year run with the U of G, Dominique was the school's all-time leading scorer, averaging 21.6 points and 7.5 rebounds. Not too shabby.

In the 1982 NBA Draft, Wilkins was chosen by the Utah Jazz as the third overall pick. Coming ahead of Wilkins was James Worthy, picked by the Los Angeles Lakers, and Terry Cummings, nabbed by the then San Diego Clippers. Wilkins, however, did not want to sign with the Jazz and was traded to the Atlanta Hawks for John Drew, Freeman Williams and one boatload of money. Wilkins and Worthy were by far the two stand out stars of this class of rookies as most everyone else has faded into the realm of obscurity.

Obscurity was something that would stay far away from Nique. In his rookie season he averaged 17.5 points per game and was unanimously voted to the 82-83 NBA All Rookie team. If Dominique was anything, he was consistent. He followed up his rookie season averaging 27.4 ppg, good enough for 6th best that season. However his Hawks would not get off the ground, ending the season with a record of 34-48.

The 83-84 season brought Dominique to the NBA All Star weekend for the first time, but it was not as a player in the all-star game. Instead, Nique was a contestant in the Slam Dunk Contest. Wilkins, with his amazing hang-time and grace in the air, would make America take notice as he soared through the air dunking the ball in various different ways. Over the next several years, Nique, along with basketball anomaly Spud Webb and uber-legend Micheal Jordan would put on dunk clinics every contest, with each trying to out do the other. Wilkins won the contest at the 1985 and 1990 All-Star weekends.

Dominique continued to excel and improve on the court. In 85-86, he scored 2,366 points, averaging over 30 per game! He won the scoring title that year and made his first appearance in the actual All-Star game. His Hawks made the playoffs and during one game aganst the Bad Boys of B-Ball, the Detroit Pistons, exploded, hitting 19 shots and 15 free throws, good enough for an even 50 points. However, the Hawks would not advance further than that round of the playoffs.

Determined not to give up, Nique pushed onward, always trying to improve his game. He averaged 29 points in the 1986-87 season, good enough for second, behind the great one, and I don't mean Gretzsky. Nique would sink his 10,000th point this season, and would finish second to his teammate Spud Webb, the five-foot dunking machine. Jordan sat out this year due to an injury.

While Dominique was beginning to get frustrated with his teams lack of playoff advancement, his frustrations did not affect his gameplay. Nique finished second in scoring, again behind MJ, voted to his third All-Star game, and runner up in the Slam Dunk contest in the 87-88 season. The Hawks also sensed Nique's frustration and stepped their play up several notches. The Hawks made it all the way to the NBA finals where they had to play the Boston Celtics, led by Larry Bird. In the end of this series, the 4th quarter of Game 7, Bird and Wilkins played an intense bucket-for-bucket, point-for-point battle that had the crowd on the edge of their seats until the final buzzer. Much to my delight as a Bostonian, the Celtics won the game and the trophy. Dominique himself says that that game 7 was one of his most memorable moments he's ever had as an athlete.

Wilkins would continue his stellar play, averaging 20+ points and an invitation to play in the All-Star game for the next three seasons. During the 1991-92 season things would not go well. After being voted for a seventh trip to the Basketball's big weekend, Wilkins ruptured his achilles tendon during a game against the Philidelphia 76ers on January 28, 1992. He underwent surgery two days later and missed the remainder of the season, a whopping 40+ games.

While injuries, expecially ones to tendons, can be devastating to an athelete's career, the rest did Dominique some good. He bounced back and became only the 17th player in NBA history to score 20,000+ points during the season opener against the New York Knickerbockers, although the kids just refer to them as the Knicks now-a-days. Nique also set a record when he went 23-23 from the free-throw line during this season. On February 2nd, 1993 Wilkins surpassed Bob Pettit's team record of 20,880 points during a game against the Seattle Supersonics. It was no surprise to anyone when, at the end of the season, Wilkins received the Victor Award for comeback player of the year.

The 92-93 season would be Nique's last stellar run in the association, which is highly unfortunate for all the fans. After being voted to his 9th All-Star game, becoming 10th on the all-time points scored list, the Atlanta Hawks, in a stroke of unimaginable genious, traded the "Human Highlight Reel" to the Los Angeles Clippers for Danny Manning on February 24, 1994. The fans were not the only people shocked, as Dominique was too. Nique would never be able to find his groove again. He was a fan of Atlanta, and was never comfterable playing for any other team. Before the 94-95 season, Wilkins was signed by the greatest basketball team ever, the Boston Celtics. However, Wilkins would not fit in and after one year with the Celts went abroad to play for the Panathinkaikos Athens of the Greek League for the 95-96 season. In the land of cool mythology and olive oil, Nique put up numbers like he was a Hawk still, averaging 20.9 points and 7 rebounds for the season. Even though Dom was named as the MVP of the European Final Four, he desired to return to the NBA.

The 1996-97 season brought Nique back to the south, but as a member of the San Antonio Spurs. He went on to lead the spurs with 18.2 ppg and 6.4 boards a contest. However, Wilkins felt he didn't gel with the team as well as he should have been, and played the following season abroad again. This time with Teamsystem in Italy. In his last season playing professional ball, Dominique Wilkins spent the 98-99 season with the Orlando Magic.

When Wilkins retired in 1999, he ranked 8th on the all-time scoring list with 26,668 points and 10th in points per game with 24.8. In 2000, Dominique was named as the Executive Vice President for the team he loved, the Atlanta Hawks. Throughout his career, Dominique was a strong power forward with the gift of game. Able to sink shots from all over the floor, and hit dunks from the free throw line, Nique was a consistent scorer and showman. He earned the nickname of the "Human Highlight Reel" for his amazing dunks during the All-Star dunk contests and during games. He will go down alongside Sir Charles of Barkley as one of the greatest NBA players without a championship ring.

Statistics:

Height: 6-8
Weight: 224 lbs

Career Totals:

 MIN    FGM   FGA    FTM   FTA   OR    DR    TR    AST   ST    PTS  
38113  9963  21589  6031  7438  2950  4219  7169  2677  1378  26668
Sources:
http://www.nba.com/history/players/wilkins_summary.html
http://www.humanhighlight.com
http://www.puresportsart.com/warehouse/wilkins88.htm

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