Dominique Wilkins Rumors

That got the discussion twisted toward trash talk, something Wilkins had brought in our earlier conversation. We wanted to know where Bird ranked on his list of verbal stars. “He was the best subtle trash talker,” Wilkins said of Bird. “He would say something almost like in a sass. He was going to be precise and to the point. There weren’t going to be a whole lot of words, but you were going to know what he meant.
So with the Hawks set to unveil a statue of Dominique on Thursday, we figured it was appropriate to check in with him again — first to discuss the honor, then to extract more tales from the old days. The granite sculpture eventually will reside outside Atlanta’s Philips Arena, and the Hall of Famer is understandably proud. “It just puts a stamp on your career,” he said. “It’s very weird, and it’s almost surreal. Growing up, you never think about stuff like getting a statue. But to be immortalized that way is unbelievable. And the closer it gets, the more unbelievable it is. It’s a nervous feeling, but it’s a good nervous.”
The NBA announced its four legends for the Shooting Stars competition at All-Star Weekend, going away from the traditional city-affiliated teams, which enables Stephen Curry to be joined by his father, Dell, on Team Curry. Other legends who will participate are Dominique Wilkins, Scottie Pippen, and Penny Hardaway. Chris Bosh, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook are leading their teams, while Swin Cash, Elena Della Donne, Sue Bird, and Tamika Catchings are the WNBA players participating.
Chris Bosh will once again be paired with NBA Legend Dominique Wilkins and WNBA player Swin Cash as they look to become the first three-peat Shooting Stars champions after winning the event the previous two years, once during the 2012 competition in Houston and then again during the 2013 event in New Orleans. Bosh, a 10-time NBA All-Star, has appeared in 41 games (all starts) with the HEAT this season averaging 21.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 35.3 minutes. He leads the team in points (867) and rebounds (299) this season and scored the 16,000th point of his career on January 25 at Chicago and grabbed his 7,000th career rebound on November 22 at Orlando. He connected on at least one three-point field goal in a career-high 10 consecutive games from November 16 through December 5 and has already totaled six 30-point games this season after doing so two times all of last year.
Michael Jordan has said it before. He’s not alone, a lot of players who come from the 1980s and 1990s look at today’s NBA defenses where there can be no contact, no hand checks allowed on the permitter, and they drool. They think about they contact they had to fight through, the grabbing and pulling, just to get a contested look, then they look at today’s rules and picture the easy points piling up. Add Dominique Wilkins to that group. If you played in this era you could just light it up nightly, Nique? “Yea, pretty much. It’d be easier to score that’s for sure,” Wilkins told ProBasketballTalk. “It was a great time to be part of basketball.”
The Hawks are a good team, but not a title contender because they do not have what the NBA covets most, a superstar, a singular talent, like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, or Carmelo Anthony, etc. It was the Knicks’ Anthony who told ESPN that the Hawks would have a hard time getting a free agent star because of the Levenson-Ferry scandal. “I don’t buy that,” said Wilkins, a front office executive and part of the team’s broadcasts. “Do they want to come in with the negativity, of course not. But this is a great town to live in. This franchise has been to the playoffs seven straight years. This is a healing process. If it’s genuine, guys will come.”
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Q How do we fix the NBA Slam Dunk contest — and can it ever be like it was when you and Michael Jordan were going head to head? Dominique Wilkins: Well, it’s never going to be like me and MJ [laughs]. But I think it can get back to that excitement if all the best athletes get in it. For whatever reason, they don’t. I think [players] are afraid of losing. Guys feel now that their brand is more important so they’re afraid to do it, for whatever reason.
Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins has been named as special advisor to CEO Steve Koonin, the team announced Monday. He was signed to a long-term contract and will continue in his role as Vice President of Basketball. The Hawks also officially announced that a statue of Wilkins will be erected at Philips Arena. The news was previously revealed during a Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed press conference earlier this month. “There is no player more deserving of such an honor than Dominique for his continued commitment to the Hawks and the City of Atlanta,” Koonin said in a statement. “Beyond his amazing play on the court during his Hall-of-Fame career, he has been an ambassador for this franchise and the city for three decades. For all he has accomplished and continues to do for the Hawks franchise and the City of Atlanta, we are proud to bestow this permanent recognition of his legacy.”
The Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena today announced plans to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Philips Arena and will construct a larger-than-life-size statue of Hawks’ legend Dominique Wilkins. The statue, which is to be unveiled at a special ceremony at Philips Arena on March 5, 2015, will be a symbol of the Hawks’ legend’s success as a player both on and off the court. Details of the statue and the ceremony will be released at a later date. Additionally, the Hawks have named Wilkins as Special Advisor to CEO Steve Koonin and signed the legend to a new long-term partnership. He will also continue in his role as Vice President of Basketball.
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NBA All-Stars Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and John Wall of the Washington Wizards headline the list of dunkers in the 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk (#SpriteSlam), taking place during State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night (#StateFarmSaturday) at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Saturday, Feb. 15. Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors and Ben McLemore of the Sacramento Kings fill out the Western Conference teams, while reigning Sprite Slam Dunk champion Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors completes the East roster. This year’s event will feature the participants competing as a team — three players representing the Eastern Conference and three players representing the Western Conference — in an above-the-rim two-round format. In a significant first in the event’s history, the competition will tip off with a Freestyle Round where the dunkers for each conference will have 90 seconds to showcase as many dunks as they want. At the conclusion of the Freestyle Round, the panel of judges will then choose a winner by voting “East” or “West.” The winning conference will earn the advantage of deciding whether its dunkers will dunk first or second in the head-to-head battles that take place in the Battle Round.
Wilkins, who was known as the Human Highlight Film for his explosive dunking ability as a player, told Starsport: “Eventually it’s going to happen. It’s inevitable. “I mean, whoever thought the NBA would play regular season games here? Nobody! But they’ve been doing it for years now. “Will it be the Hawks who come here? Hopefully not! I’d hate to leave Atlanta. But it could be a completely new franchise. An expansion. That’s the most likely thing. “I think it would be a good thing for the sport. It grows the borders for basketball worldwide. London would definitely be an attractive venue for that. “We all saw how well London put on the Olympics last summer and how great the basketball venue was. London would be a very attractive capital city for an NBA franchise. “I don’t think the travel would be an issue either. NBA teams already do a lot of flying all over north America. If you get the planning right it wouldn’t be a problem.”
Isaiah Wilkins, the stepson of NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, is headed out of state for his college career. The 6-foot-8 forward from Greater Atlanta Christian committed to Virginia over Memphis, Miami, SMU and Wichita State on Sunday. Wilkins got an assist in recruiting from stepfather, who starred at UGA and for the Atlanta Hawks. “He helped me out a lot with the recruiting,” Wilkins told dailyprogress.com. “He didn’t try to make me go to [any particular school] or anything like that. He just told me kind of what to expect and how to go about things.”
The Hawks and Celtics occupied much different places in the NBA pecking order in 1988, but the tide was turning. Boston won the title in 1986 with what some consider the greatest team in NBA history, but lost in the Finals to the Lakers in 1987 and faced challenges from up-and-coming squads in Detroit, Chicago and Atlanta. The Hawks finished the 1987-88 season 50-32, and after dispatching the Milwaukee Bucks in round one, matched up with Boston in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Dominique Wilkins (Hawks small forward): We thought we were going to win it that year. We really did. We felt good about the way we were playing, particularly the second half of the season. We just grew to have so much confidence in ourselves and each other that we believed we could have won. Larry Bird (Celtics small forward): They were up and coming. They were young. They played together, and Dominique was the leader. They had the makings of a great basketball team.
“Dunking on a little guy?” he added, bringing the LeBron-Terry play back into focus. “What’s the big thing about that? When you’re dunking on a Robert Parish or a Patrick Ewing or Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) or guys like that, that’s something. That’s exciting. But if you dunked on then, you finished and went down the other end. There’s wasn’t any pointing at him, any calling out his name, You didn’t do that. No, no, no, no, no. You didn’t do none of that.”
If there’s any good news here for Bryant, Wilkins said it’s the fact that his legendary work ethic and internal drive are exactly what he will need to salvage the later stages of his career. And as was the case with Wilkins, the more critics the better. “I worked out twice a day for basically nine months,” Wilkins said. “I was very driven to get back. You hear all the doubters, all the people saying, ‘Oh, he’s over 30 and he’ll never make it back. And if you come back, you’re not going to be any good.’ I was determined to prove all the doubters wrong. “I felt like I had to prove something to myself, not to anybody else. And if I proved something to myself, then all the doubters would be proved wrong. And thank God, that’s exactly what happened.”
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When Dominique Wilkins heard about Kobe Bryant’s plans for recovery from the Achilles tendon tear they have in common, his goal to be ready for the start of the Los Angeles Lakers’ regular season six months from now, the Hall of Famer and former Atlanta Hawks star couldn’t help but be skeptical. “That’s tough, man. That’s tough,” Wilkins told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday. “As you get older, you don’t heal as easily like we did when we were younger. Six months is quick. I will tell you that. “It took me nine months to really get back to the form and the level that I once played. He’s got to be patient. That’s the biggest thing for me. He has to be patient.”
Wilkins, the Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer who accompanied the Atlanta Hawks on their tour of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, believes popularizing the sport in India will be more incremental than explosive. “I went with Basketball Without Borders for its first visit in 2008,” said Wilkins, “and it was a very different experience than the Soviet Union of 30 years ago. Russia, even when the wall was coming down, all the Cold War stuff, was much more familiar with the game. But then when I went back to India again two years ago, I definitely could sense a difference. It’s not leaps and bounds, but I think the access to information, social media, the Internet, getting more NBA games on television is changing things.”
White also went for presentation points with his opening dunk, bringing out women dressed as flight attendants who formed a path on the court. White ran through them, finishing a jam after taking off a foot inside the foul line. No All-Stars competed in this year’s contest. Dominique Wilkins, a two-time winner, said it’s because the All-Stars were scared of losing. “I think it’s hard for them to accept who might be the best as far as the slam dunking which it doesn’t really affect your legacy as a player. I think a lot of the guys should do it. Especially for the fans alone they should do it,” Wilkins said. “I don’t know if it’s fear. I just think they don’t want to hear they lost to this guy or that guy.”
Besides being a perennial All-NBA performer for the Atlanta Hawks, Wilkins had several legendary dunk-offs against Michael Jordan on All-Star Weekend, including their 1988 showdown in the old Chicago Stadium. “I did the dunk contest at All-Star Weekend five times. Won it four times and got credit for two. Yes, I’ve heard over the years how I beat him in Chicago and Mike and I have talked about it a lot. He says that if it was in any other arena but Chicago Stadium, it would have turned out differently. I would have won. Back then, we did it for the fans. That’s all that mattered. We did it for the fun and the only way a guy didn’t do it is if he was banged up and couldn’t go. Don’t get me wrong, Michael wanted to win all of them, just like I did. But we always congratulated each other and were glad we did them. I didn’t really care if I got beat by Michael. It was just a joy for both of us, being out there dunking. And when I played against him, I knew that if I didn’t raise my level of play that night, we’d be in big trouble. I had to for Mike. He brought it every night. And that’s what we loved about going at each other. We worked hard and we went at each other every minute of every game. It was about competing on the highest level, on the biggest stage. There will never be another. I don’t care what anybody says. People can build their own name and build their own brand. But Michael Jordan is in a class all by himself.”
Dominique Wilkins today reflected on his time with USA Basketball: “That was a great time. Dream Team II was unbelievable. That was an unbelievable team and to be with a lot of those guys, who I call characters now, Shaquille was a character. That was an unbelievable team and that was a great time to be a part of USA Basketball, to stand on that podium, to receive those gold medals pretty much killing everybody. There was nobody even close to us in that World Championship series. It was fun.”
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How are you getting ready for the dunk contest? Terrence Ross: I’m just practicing hard, just working the dunks I think I should be able to do at the contest. DeMar [DeRozan] is helping me, Rudy [Gay] is helping me a lot. DeMar is giving me some good advice on how to do some dunks and improve on my score while getting the crowd on my side. Who is the best dunker at the All Stars? Terrence Ross: I would say [Michael] Jordan and [Dominique] Wilkins, those two were the best.
To the one hundredth of one percent of humans who have experienced what it’s like to bounce 40 inches-plus in the air with nothing but a pair high tops to get you there, jumping is an artistic expression. “It’s an art form, it really is,” Robinson says. “A guy like Gerald Green controls his hops and his jumps are for a purpose. Julius Erving had big hands. He was always moving the ball all around; he made it look like magic in the air. Then you have explosive dunkers who jump high and dunk hard like Dominique Wilkins. Me? I’m an energy jumper. My jumping ability is more like an explosive Dennis Rodman, and since I’m shorter, it looks crazy. I’m just a guy out there who’s trying to show the world what I can do. Not too many 5-9 guys can dunk like I can.”
It’s important to note that this New York Times feature isn’t about famous people who died this year. It’s regular people, with photos and remembrances submitted by their friends and family. And there, barely noticeable between a “devoted wife and mother” and an Egyptian immigrant doctor, is Dan Roundfield, the former NBA player who drowned in August trying to rescue his wife from rough seas. The brief note accompanying the photo was written by Dominique Wilkins, who played with Roundfield on the Hawks for two seasons. This wasn’t commissioned by the Times—it was just Wilkins reaching out when he saw an opportunity to publicly honor his friend and teammate.
The leader of the group – the massive, wide-bodied Mahorn – was in Sleep Train Arena, calling the game for Pistons radio, and he thought Robinson went over the edge. “That was dirty,” Mahorn said Thursday when reached on his cellphone. “We all have mental lapses, but you don’t take your frustration out in a way that will hurt somebody. I didn’t have the physical gifts or the flight of a Dominique Wilkins. I used my body and my width to position. I would use my big (butt) to clear some room. “But we never tried to bust somebody in the mouth. You don’t hit somebody in the face. You don’t want to be that guy, because now everything he does is going to be looked at. The referees remember.”
Roundfield was an established veteran when Dominique Wilkins, a likely Hall of Famer, entered the league in 1982. “Danny was the most honest and upfront person I knew and I’m very stunned at hearing the news of his death,” Wilkins said in a statement released by the organization. “Danny’s one of my closest friends and he was a tremendous influence on my NBA career, on and off the court. He taught me how to be a professional and took me under his wing. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, I will truly miss him.”
The Atlanta Sports Council will recognize Hawks great Dominique Wilkins with its 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award. Wilkins will be honored as part of the award ceremony on Feb. 27 at the Fox Theatre. According to the Sports Council, the Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have made a positive impact on the sports world and their community throughout their career. Wilkins joins past Lifetime Achievement Award recipients Hank Aaron (2006), Vince Dooley (2007), Billy Payne (2008), Ted Turner (2009), Tom Cousins (2010) and Bobby Cox (2011). Wilkins currently serves in the Hawks front office and as an analyst for Fox Sports South telecasts.
A former NBA referee turned custom clothier, Michel says Wilkins owes him $12,000 for custom suits. And when he saw Wilkins near the floor of Philips Arena, Michel approached him about the unpaid debt, according to the lawsuit, which also names the Atlanta Spirit, owner of the Hawks, as a defendant. “Seeing Wilkins in the stands on this particular occasion, Plaintiff (Michel) seized upon the opportunity to ask Wilkins about whether he intended to pay the debt,” the lawsuit states. “Embarrassed that Plaintiff had mentioned the debt, Wilkins began arguing with Plaintiff, shouting ‘I built this house!’ and cursing Plaintiff for bringing up the matter in front of his peers.”
The man arrested following a fight with Dominique Wilkins says he didn’t provoke or threaten the former Hawks star, who then punched him repeatedly with his fists as basketball fans watched. Wilkins then lied to security guards about the fight, saying that Rashan Michel assaulted him, according to a lawsuit filed in Friday in Fulton County state court. Michel was arrested that night, March 30, and charged with misdemeanor battery. That charge was later dropped. Wilkins was not charged.
The Grizz Girls are going international. The Memphis Grizzlies Dance Team will take to Hong Kong for NBA Madness 2011, where they’ll represent the Grizzlies and the league at the fifth annual event that aims to bring NBA excitement abroad. Along with basketball legend Dominique Wilkins, the Grizz Girls will participate in selected venues to interact with fans and bring a piece of NBA entertainment overseas. “This is the first opportunity the Grizz Girls have had to represent the NBA overseas, so I’m thrilled that our girls will be able to showcase abroad the talents that members of Grizz Nation are already very familiar with,” said Tamara Moore, Grizz Girls Choreographer. “Whether on Beale Street or in Hong Kong, the Grizz Girls will perform with a brand of dancing that is entertaining and distinctly Memphis.”