Wilkins Elected To Hall Of Fame

"The Human Highlight Film" joins five other honorees as members of the 2006 Class

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  • INDIANAPOLIS, IN (Apr. 3, 2006)-- Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins got the call he has waited so patiently for last Thursday, and this afternoon it was made official, as the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame named the 6-8 All-Star forward to its 2006 class of inductees into the BHOF, joining fellow NBAers Charles Barkley and Joe Dumars, Connecticut women's head coach Geno Auriemma, former Big East Commissioner and former Chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame Dave Gavitt, and Italian coach Sandro Gamba.

    Wilkins, 45, who was elected in his second year of eligibility, is the NBA's ninth all-time scorer with 26,668 points and his 24.8 career scoring average is 11th on the all-time charts. The 15-year veteran spent the majority of his playing days with the Hawks (12 seasons) and his 23,292 are the franchise's best. He also holds top ten positions in 13 team categories, among them: games (1st, 882), minutes played (1st, 32,542), total rebounds (4th, 6,119), steals (2nd, 1,245), assists (6th, 2,322), blocked shots (5th, 592), field goals made (1st, 8,752) and attempted (1st, 18,743), free throws made (2nd, 5,288) and attempted (2nd, 6,506), and three-pointers made (4th, 500) and attempted (4th, 1,587).

    "I am truly grateful to the voting members of the Hall of Fame for recognizing my talents for election to the 2006 Class of Hall of Famers," said Wilkins, currently the Hawks' Vice President-Basketball, "and I am proud to be a member of this outstanding group of individuals, many of whom I played against and had some classic battles. Since my retirement from basketball, I have waited for this call and am honored to be recognized as one of the greatest to have ever played the game. I'm truly humbled by this experience, and I am appreciative of the many coaches and teammates who have been instrumental throughout my career."

    One of the most electrifying players in NBA history, Wilkins came to the Hawks in a September 1982 trade with the Utah Jazz, giving the city of Atlanta its first superstar since "Pistol" Pete Maravich. Wilkins, already familiar to area sports fans from his collegiate days at the University of Georgia, entered the 1982 NBA Draft after his junior season with the Bulldogs. He ended his Georgia years as the school's all-time leading scorer with averages of 21.6 points to go along with the 7.5 rebounds per game. A three-time All-SEC performer who also took home the Most Valuable Player award from the 1981 Southeastern Conference tournament, he was selected as the third overall pick in the first round by the Utah Jazz.

    The catalyst behind the Hawks success in the mid-to-late '80s and early `90s, Wilkins delighted Atlanta sports fans as his 29.1-point scoring average over a four-year period led Atlanta to four consecutive seasons of 50 wins or more (1985-86 to 1988-89). In the 1988 All-Star Game, he tallied 29 points in 30 minutes of play.

    As a Hawk, Wilkins was selected to nine consecutive NBA All-Star teams, took home the league's slam dunk championship twice and led the league in scoring in 1986 with an average of 30.3 points per game.

    A playoff participant in eight of his 12 seasons in Atlanta, his finest hour came in during the 1988 postseason when the Hawks narrowly missed reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, as the Boston Celtics eked out a two-point victory in Game 7 of the conference semifinals. Wilkins averaged 31.2 points in 12 playoff contests that year, and having participated in ten years of playoff competition, scored 25.4 points per game.

    After missing only 18 of a possible 738 regular season games his first nine years, Wilkins' durability took a serious blow when he suffered a season-ending tear of Achilles tendon midway through the 1991-92 season. While it was unsure if he would ever return to his old high-flying exploits, Wilkins responded the next season by scoring 29.9 points per game to finish second only to Chicago's Michael Jordan for the league scoring title.

    Wilkins' outstanding contributions on the court were recognized by the organization in January 2001 when he became the third player in club history to have his uniform number (#21) retired, joining Hawks legends Bob Pettit and Lou Hudson.

    He was a member of the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1983 and was named to seven All-NBA teams, nine consecutive All-Star squads and was a two-time winner of the NBA Slam Dunk Championship.

    On November 6, 1992 against the New York Knicks, a patented baseline jumper led to Wilkins becoming the 17th person in league history to join the 20,000-point club, and later that season (February 2, 1993 against Seattle) he supplanted Pettit as the franchise's all-time leading scorer.

    His stellar career in Atlanta came to an end on February 2, 1994 when the Hawks traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers for Danny Manning. At the conclusion of the year, Wilkins decided to test the free agent market and signed with the Boston Celtics.

    Discouraged with his performance in 1994-95, Wilkins joined Panathinaikos Athens of the Greek League the following season (1995-96). He was named MVP of the European Final Four after averaging 20.9 points and 7.0 rebounds and leading the team to the European Men's Championship.

    Seeking a return to the States, Wilkins signed a free agent contract with San Antonio and provided more than the Spurs possibly imagined, leading the David Robinson-less Spurs in scoring with an 18.2 average and grabbing 6.4 rebounds.

    He returned overseas for the 1997-98 campaign, signing with Italy's Teamsystem before rejoining the NBA for his final professional season (1998-99), as Wilkins saw action in 27 games for the Orlando Magic.

    Extremely active with local and national charity endeavors, Wilkins has done work with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy Association and the American Lung Foundation.

    He was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame on April 3, 2004, and into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame's inaugural class on June 10, 2005. Wilkins is the fifth former Atlanta Hawks player elected to the Hall of Fame - joining Connie Hawkins, Pete Maravich, Moses Malone and Walt Bellamy - but he is the first to have played the majority of his NBA career in Atlanta.

    The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2006 Enshrinement Weekend ceremonies will be held September 7-9, 2006 in Springfield, Massachusetts, home of the Basketball Hall of Fame.