Dominique’s Greatest Moments - 1
Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame, as you may have heard. We here at Hawks.com cannot get enough of Nique, and are constantly scouring the internet for video of his days as the Human Highlight Film. On December 1st, the Hawks will be honoring Dominique as part of Hardwood Classic Nights, with the team wearing throwback uniforms representing the 1986 season.
To get ready for the festivities, Hawks.com is counting down the 21
greatest moments of Wilkins' career. Check back daily as we update the countdown
every weekday leading up to the Dec. 1 match-up with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
May 22, 1988: Dominique Wilkins and Larry Bird go toe-to-toe in the fourth quarter of Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
If your cable package includes ESPN Classic or NBA-TV, chances are pretty good that in any given week you will find a replay of Game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Semis between the Hawks and Celtics. It is arguably the most widely-shown NBA game on the planet, and for good reason.
Played during what many consider the "Golden Age" of the NBA, at a time when teams were scoring in the 120's yet still playing good defense (and wearing, it must be said, tiny shorts), the Dominique-Bird duel is the #1 moment on our Dominique countdown, and I think you'd be hard-pressed to get an argument from anyone for something else. This game saw two of the game's greatest talents matching each other basket for basket in the highest pressure setting imaginable, a Game Seven.
Wilkins had 47 points on that fateful night, shooting a you've-gotta-be-kidding-me 19-23 from the field. Bird had 34, 20 of which came in the deciding quarter, when Nique and Larry seemed to score every single basket. It was almost as if their teammates didn't exist, as if the house lights were down and there was merely a spotlight following each player from end to end.
And though the Hawks lost 118-116, hindsight shows both teams as victors on that day. Every player, coach, broadcaster, and fan in attendance knew they'd just witnessed one of the greatest games in league history and individual performances they'd never forget.
NBA Hall-of-Famer and CBS color commentator for the game
"It was an expression of will power. Both Dominique and Larry tried to will their team to victory, and it was masterfully done. They just blew people away with their performances - they both rose to the occasion.
I've never seen a pro game like it in all my years involved in the league."
former teammate of Wilkins, current Head Coach of Boston Celtics
"Bird and 'Nique were in a different world. Late in the game, I was trying to get back in and I just kneeled there and watched them go back and forth.
Nique was great in Game 6 and 7. He just decided we weren't going to lose that last game. Unfortunately, Bird had decided the same thing, and only one of them could be right. Bird may have won the game, but Dominique won the duel."
Hawks coach from 1983-1990
"It was a spectacular game, regardless of the circumstances. But the fact that it was a Game Seven made it all the more remarkable. It was the greatest NBA game I've ever seen."