NBA: Dominique Wilkins tells Filipino kids ‘continue to love the game’
MANILA, Philippines — NBA legend Dominique Wilkins is best known for his ferocious and electrifying dunks.
But the former Atlanta Hawks star, known as the “Human Highlight Film,” believes the greatest highlight of his career was simply making it to the NBA.
“Biggest highlight of my career? Making [it to] the NBA. Being selected to be part of the greatest sport in the world. That’s my biggest highlight,” the 63-year-old Wilkins told reporters on Sunday during his youth clinic at NBA Community Court.
Wilkins was selected third overall by the Utah Jazz in the 1982 NBA Draft but never played for the franchise until he was traded to Atlanta, where his career flourished, becoming a nine-time NBA All-Star and a scoring champion. Wilkins also made All-NBA First Team in 1986 on top of four All-NBA Second Team and three All-NBA Third Team selections and a pair of slam dunk contest trophies in the 1985 and 1990 All-Star festivities.
The 6-foot-8 forward spent 13 seasons with the Hawks. He also played for the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, and San Antonio Spurs before calling it quits in 1999 with the Orlando Magic. He also took his act to the Panathinaikos Athens in the Euroleague and Fortitudo Bologna in Italy.
Wilkins, a member of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team whose No. 21 jersey was retired by the Hawks, has been the franchise’s vice president of basketball since 2004 and he has been helping out the NBA in its global projects for the youth.
The 1994 Fiba World Championship gold medalist as part of Team USA visited Manila for the second time after 14 years and held a youth clinic for the Filipino kids from Mandaluyong as part of the NBA Cares project.
Wilkins marveled at how the game has changed over the years with a lot of players around the world — not just in the US — making it to the NBA and emerging as stars of today’s game.
The Basketball Hall of Famer encourages young ballers to continue exploring ways to improve their game so they can reach their dreams.
“Just continue to love the game. Continue to work on your game and watch tapes and films not just in the NBA, college basketball, and high school basketball to be able to get as much knowledge as you can. You give yourself multiple options to play on a different level,” he said.
Wilkins, who had a meet and greet with his fans on Saturday, relished his return to Manila. He hopes Filipino hoopers will continue to receive opportunities and resources that would serve as a launchpad for a homegrown talent to finally reach the NBA
“Filipinos are treating me very well it’s not my first time here. I always enjoy coming back,” he said. “A lot of young people here that you can see skill-wise they have a chance to do something special but you gotta continue to give them resources and opportunities to get there. That’s why, we in the NBA, we’re here.”