NBA Player Directory
Wilkins player file
One of the NBA's true marquee players for more than a decade, Dominique Wilkins earned the nickname "Human Highlight Film" with a plethora of spectacular individual plays. A member of the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1983, the high-flying 6-8 forward has been named to seven All-NBA teams and nine consecutive All-Star squads and is a two-time winner of the NBA Slam-Dunk Championship. In 1986 he won the NBA scoring title with an average of 30.3 points per game, and in 1992 he set an NBA record by sinking 23 free throws in a game without a miss. He's the Atlanta Hawks' all-time franchise leader in both scoring and steals.
One of only nine players to score over 25,000 points in his NBA career, Wilkins returned to the NBA in 1996-97 after one year in Europe. He started the season ranked eighth on the all-time NBA scoring list with 25,389 points, and could pass Alex English (25,613) and perhaps John Havlicek (26,395) and Oscar Robertson (26,710) before the end of the season.
Born in Paris, France, where his father was stationed while with the Air Force, Wilkins attended high school in Washington, North Carolina. The older brother of NBA player Gerald Wilkins, Dominique attended college at Georgia, where he averaged 21.6 points over three seasons. It was his acrobatic exploits there that earned him the nickname of the "Human Highlight Film."
He entered the 1982 NBA Draft after his junior year and was selected by the Utah Jazz with the third overall pick. He refused to sign with the Jazz, however, and was dealt in September, 1982 to the Atlanta Hawks for John Drew, Freeman Williams, and cash.
Wilkins was an instant hit for the Hawks, averaging 17.5 points as a rookie. He came back in his second season with an average of 21.6 points per game, starting a remarkable streak in which he would average above 20 points per contest for 11 consecutive seasons.
He was instrumental to the Hawks' success in the late 1980s as the club recorded 50 wins in four straight seasons from 1985-86 to 1988-89. During that span he poured in more than 30 points per game twice, and for the four years combined he averaged 29.1 ppg. In 1988 he also scored 29 points in 30 minutes of action in the All-Star Game. In the postseason he averaged 31.2 points as the Hawks narrowly missed out on reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the Boston Celtics by a mere two points in Game 7 of the conference semifinals.
In the early 1990s, while the Hawks were slipping from a 50-win team to a .500 ballclub, Wilkins evolved from a pure scorer into a more all-around contributor. In 1990-91 he grabbed a career-high 9.0 rebounds per contest, and he topped 3 assists per game that year for the first time.
Nearly injury-free for most of his career, he suffered a season-ending rupture of his Achilles tendon midway through the 1991-92 campaign. Some thought the injury might end Wilkins's career, but the 32-year-old bounced back in grand fashion the next year, averaging 29.9 ppg to finish second to Michael Jordan for the league scoring crown while maintaining his solid all-around play. That same season he became the 17th player in NBA history to rack up 20,000 points.
Midway through the 1993-94 season--Wilkins' 12th with Atlanta--the Hawks shocked their fans by trading their all-time leading scorer to the Los Angeles Clippers for Danny Manning. Wilkins became a free agent after the season and signed with the Boston Celtics for 1994-95. Although he was the Celtics' leading scorer, his average of 17.8 points per game was his lowest mark since his rookie season.
On August 12, 1995, Wilkins, unhappy with his role on the rebuilding Celtics, signed to play for Panathinaikos Athens of the Greek League. He averaged 20.9 points and 7.0 rebounds in 14 games for Panathinaikos and led the team to the European Championship for Men's Clubs in 1996. Wilkins was named the MVP of the European Final Four in Paris.
On October 3, 1996 he returned to the NBA, signing a contract as a free agent with the San Antonio Spurs, who were seeking to add bench scoring.
Unhappy with his role in his season with the Celtics, a team in a rebuilding mode, Wilkens signed on August 12, 1995 to play for Panathinaikos Athens of the Greek League.
Wilkins averaged 20.9 points and 7.0 rebounds in 14 games for Panathinaikos and led the team to the European Championship for Men's Clubs in 1996. Wilkins was named the MVP of the European Final Four at Bercy Arena in Paris after scoring 35 points in an 81-71 semifinal win over CSKA Moscow and then getting 16 points and 11 rebounds while playing 38 of 40 minutes in a 67-66 victory over FC Barcelona in the final.
He then made it known that he wanted to return to the NBA, and on October 3, 1996 the San Antonio Spurs, seeking bench scoring following an injury to Chuck Person, signed Wilkins as a free agent.