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Color: blues and blacks
Food: Italian
Quote: I can show oyu but I'm not going to tell you
Season: fall
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Biography |

Interview Date: 10/5/2016

Basketball player Dominique Wilkins was born on January 12, 1960 in Paris, France to John Wilkins, a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, and Gertrude Baker. Wilkins had seven siblings, including Gerald Wilkins, who also played professional basketball. By the age of 15, Dominique Wilkins had lived in ten different cities - the family eventually settled in Baltimore, Maryland after his parents’ divorce, whereupon they lived in the O’Donnell Heights housing project. Wilkins began playing basketball on the playground while attending Dunbar High School in Baltimore, and often challenged older players to games for cash prizes, which he used to support his family. As a high school sophomore, Wilkins was recruited to move to Washington High School in Washington, North Carolina to play basketball and live with his grandmother. There, he won two North Carolina Class 3-A Championships in 1978 and 1979 and was voted as state MVP in both seasons. Wilkins enrolled at the University of Georgia, where he played basketball for three years, being awarded as SEC Player of the Year in 1981 and leading Georgia to the 1982 NIT semifinals.

Wilkins was drafted third in the 1982 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, and subsequently traded to the Atlanta Hawks. Wilkins was the Hawks’ leading scorer for most of his twelve seasons with the franchise. He was selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game nine straight years from 1986 to 1994, and led the league in scoring during the 1985-1986 season. Wilkins, nicknamed “The Human Highlight Film,” was particularly famed for his skill at dunking, especially his signature two-handed windmill dunk. He won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest twice, in 1985 and 1990, and was the contest’s runner-up two other times. The Hawks qualified for the playoffs in nine of Wilkins’s twelve seasons with the team, but never advanced past the second round; the closest they came was in 1988, when Wilkins scored 47 points in a deciding Game 7 of the conference semifinals against the Boston Celtics, but the Hawks lost by two points. Wilkins’s later career included stints on the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, and the Greek team Panathinaikos, with whom he won the 1996 Euroleague Final Four championship. When Wilkins retired from the NBA in 1999, he was ninth in league history in total points scored.

Wilkins was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. He has worked with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and the National Diabetes Education Program to promote diabetes prevention, and is also active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy Association and the American Lung Foundation.

Dominique Wilkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 5, 2016.

Speaker Bureau Notes: