Dominique Wilkins is owed an apology and the only asterisk I’ll accept in sports

Dominique Wilkins owes a lot to you people.
Buckhead's restaurant apologized to Nique for not seating him due to his attire. However, the metro Atlanta restaurant community deserved an apology as well as this edict: Nique can always get a seat at any restaurant, Buckhead, Kennesaw Midtown, Mableton or Buckhead.


He also owes the Atlanta Hawks an apology for trading him in 1994, the year he finally won the No. He was the East's No. 1 seed in 1994 after a season where he averaged 29.9 ppg while recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. It is not enough to have a statue at State Farm Arena. It should be engraved somewhere in the base that The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Organization apologises for trading Metro Atlanta's most beloved basketball player to the Clippers while Hank Aaron could still play.

The NBA and the Blue Ribbon Panel, which selected the 50 most important players in the history the sport, should apologize the most. Dominique Wilkins was not included in this list.

The Human Highlight Film, 26668 career points (14th all-time), was not considered to be one of the 50 greatest players ever.

Wilkins spent most of his NBA career during the 1980s. The 1980s were a time when the NBA went from being a tape-delayed product to its golden age. There were stars in every major market: Magic Johnson in Los Angeles; Larry Bird with Boston Celtics Julius Erving and Bernard King with New York Knicks.

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These players also benefitted from a league that hadn't gone through expansion, adding six teams in eight years. The league had 23 teams for most of 1980s. Bird was able to play alongside Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Johnson could play with Kareem AbdulJabbar and James Worthy. An aging Julius Erving could play with Moses Malone or Andrew Toney.

These three teams won nine championships, with the Celtics and Lakers each winning eight. In 1988-89, the Detroit Pistons were the other team to win that decade's title. They had five players that, at the end of their careers, had made multiple all-star appearances in that season. This was true both before and after Adrian Dantley's trade.


The Human Highlight Film, 26668 career points (14th all-time), was not considered to be one of the 50 greatest players ever.

Wilkins didn't have the talent to challenge any of these teams at their best. Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers coach, once expressed disappointment that Wilkins wasn't one of the 50 original greats through a beautiful line of poetry. Dominique and James Worthy are two different people. Dominique had Magic Johnson, while James had me.


Rivers was not Johnson, but Stephen A. Smith would never have called him scrub. Rivers was the only player to make an all-star debut in 1988, scoring 14.2 points per game with 9.3 assists. In coincidentially, it was also the year when Wilkins Hawks lost an NBA Hardwood Classic Game 7 at the old Boston Garden to the Celtics. Wilkins scored 47 points while shooting 57.6 percent in that game. Only once in Wilkins' time with the Hawks did any other player average more than 20 points per game. That was Moses Malone in his fourteenth season.

Wilkins managed to guide the Hawks to their greatest stretch in franchise history with four seasons of at least 50 wins. Since Wilkins was traded, they have won 50+ games in consecutive seasons. This is the first time that Wilkins has been traded and it was not before Wilkins was drafted. If you add their winning percentage to an entire 82-game season, even the 2020-21 Hawks would not have won 50 games.


Wilkins averaged 26.4 point per game over 11 seasons with Hawks. He shot 46.7 percent from field and 81.3% from the free throw line. Let's not forget about the main reason Wilkins didn't make it on that list: Traveshamockery.

Everybody knows a few stats. Some people can be a baseball-reference. But the numbers don't tell you why your favorite athletes have become your favorites. You love what they did.


David Ortiz is a favorite athlete because of the walk-offs which helped to end the Boston Red Sox World Series drought. Serena Williams is a favorite athlete because of her serve speed. Joe Louis is one your favourite athletes, because you feel like he has US Steel in his boxing gloves.

Dominique Wilkins put on one the most spectacular shows on Earth. It was a one-man circus. There was no lion, ringmaster, clown or clown. Just one acrobat dunkin' on the entire NBA during a time when most of the game was played under the rim. He was a trendsetting star, a star in a loaded NBA and one of the most entertaining players to ever play basketball.


Wilkins will be a top 75 player in the NBA when the list is revealed at the beginning of the 2021-22 NBA basketball season. But that's not all. It should always be an asterisk whenever and wherever the list is published. *

*The National Basketball Association is guilty of ignoring Dominique Wilkins' inclusion on its original 50 Greatest Players List. We sincerely apologize to The Human Highlight Film.


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