clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

YouTube Gold: The Human Highlight Reel

Dominique Wilkins was a very good player in many ways, but he was an unbelievable dunker

1990 NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunks Contest
MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 10: Dominique Wilkins #21 of the Atlanta Hawks and the East NBA All-Stars performs in the Slam Dunk contest during the NBA All-Star weekend on February 10, 1990 at the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida.
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The ABA changed basketball in many ways. Unlike the staid NBA, the ABA embraced flash and individualism and later proved that it could be part of team basketball after the leagues merged in 1976. Julius Erving was a prime mover in that and of course he took dunking to another level.

In 1982, six years after the merger, another amazing dunker entered the league when Dominique Wilkins was taken #3 in the draft by Utah and traded to Atlanta.

Wilkins, who grew up in Washington, North Carolina, was a wildly gifted athlete. He had duels with the Boston Celtics and Larry Bird that were among the greatest games in NBA history.

Unlike a lot of dunkers, Wilkins tended to jump off of both feet, even on a break (the first dunk in this video wasn’t like that). He had superb hang time and as you’ll see, he maneuvered around people in the air to do some utterly ridiculous stuff.

He came along at a time when he was overshadowed, first by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, then later by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, among others. But there is no question that he was one of the NBA’s greatest and, accordingly, is now in the Hall of Fame.