Dominique Wilkins was the 3rd overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. In what is now considered to be one of the most one-sided trades in history, the Jazz traded Wilkins to Atlanta for two players and cash. Wilkins reluctance to play in Utah prompted the trade. In Atlanta, Wilkins made his legacy. He picked up his nickname, The Human Highlight Factory, by wooing the crowd with his athletic dunks and plays. He is one of the most exhilarating players in NBA history to watch.
He spent his first 12 seasons with the Hawks. He averaged 25.8 points and 6.8 rebounds while playing in an Atlanta uniform. He made 9 straight all-star appearances from 1986-1994. His best season was the 1987-1988 season, in which Wilkins averaged 30.7 points per game and finished 2nd in the league’s MVP voting behind Michael Jordan. Even with Wilkins’s greatness, the Hawks could never reach the Eastern Conference Finals. However, Wilkins competed unforgettably numerous times against the great Larry Bird. Unfortunately, Bird seemed to always get the best of Wilkins and the Hawks, like he seemed to do to every other team in the NBA. Wilkins was abruptly traded to the Clippers prior to the 1994 trade deadline. The move was shocking considering the Hawks were in 1st place in the Eastern Conference at the time. It still puzzles many Atlanta fans today, and remains the only time a team in 1st place in their conference has traded their leading scorer.
Dominique Wilkins is one of the most unique players in NBA history. In his 15 seasons in the NBA, he never averaged less than 19 points a game. He only averaged less than 20 points twice, and those came in his rookie season and his final season with the Magic when he was 39 years old. He was a spectacle to watch and lit up the city of Atlanta. He started a basketball culture in Atlanta, that is just now reappearing due to the great basketball of the past few seasons. He is now a TV analyst for the Hawks’ broadcasts on Fox Sports. Last year, the Hawks unveiled a statue of Wilkins in front of Phillips Arena. He is officially cemented in the history of Atlanta and is the best player to ever don a Hawks uniform.