Dominique Wilkins 21 Monumental Moments | Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club

September 3, 1982

Dominique Wilkins acquired from the Utah Jazz in exchange for John Drew, Freeman Williams and cash

The face of the Hawks franchise was almost never a Hawk. It seems easy to forget that Wilkins was not actually an original draft pick of the franchise, but it’s true.

More About Nique’s Moment #21

More About Nique’s Moment #21

February 19, 2005

Josh Smith wins the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk Contest, wears Dominique Wilkins throwback jersey in tribute

Though Dominique Wilkins was a tremendous all-around talent, his legendary dunking abilities were what put him on the map as a household name. A generation after ‘Nique competed in five slam dunk contests, winning two of them and placing second twice, another Georgia talent announced his presence on the NBA landscape.

More About Nique’s Moment #20

More About Nique’s Moment #20

March 9, 1993

‘Nique hits a career-high eight three-pointers in a 117-103 victory over Milwaukee

Dominique Wilkins was known for his ability to get to the rack, but he could also hit from distance from time-to-time. It’s hard to score 26,668 career points without the ability to score from all over.

More About Nique’s Moment #19

More About Nique’s Moment #19

March 25, 1994

Wilkins returns to Atlanta with the Clippers, scores 36 in a 97-94 win

It was a sad moment for Hawks fans when ‘Nique was traded to Los Angeles for Danny Manning at the trade deadline of the 1993-94 season.


When the Clippers made their annual visit to Atlanta to play the Hawks almost a month to the day after that deal was consummated, it made for a very emotional evening for all involved parties.

More About Nique’s Moment #18

More About Nique’s Moment #18

December 8, 1992

Dominique sets a new NBA record, hitting a perfect 23-23 from the free throw line

The hallmark of many great scorers is the ability to take points wherever they can get them. Nowhere is this truer than at the foul line, where Dominique Wilkins was a career 81% shooter.

More About Nique’s Moment #17

More About Nique’s Moment #17

February 16, 1988

Wilkins sets a team record with 28 points in the third quarter vs. Sacramento

To score 50+ in a game, a player will have to put up some solid numbers from beginning to end. But sometimes those numbers can come in bigger bunches, which is what happened one night in February during the 1988-89 season.

More About Nique’s Moment #16

More About Nique’s Moment #16

February 10, 1990

Dominique wins his second NBA Slam Dunk crown, beating Kenny Smith in the final

Though Wilkins is a Hall of Famer for many reasons, he didn’t get his nickname “The Human Highlight Film” for his ability to finger roll (that would be George Gervin). A ferocious dunker, Wilkins put the NBA’s Dunk Contest on the map with his victories and even his losses (more on those later).

More About Nique’s Moment #15

More About Nique’s Moment #15

April 10, 1986

Dominique scores a career-high 57 points against the New Jersey Nets

As the 1985-86 season wore down, Dominique Wilkins was in a heated three-way battle with Utah’s Adrian Dantley and Denver’s Alex English. In the team’s penultimate game, with his teammates determined to help him win the scoring title, Wilkins tied a Hawks franchise record (shared by Bob Pettit and Lou Hudson) by scoring 57 points, which put him into the scoring lead at 30.285 ppg going into the season’s final game.

More About Nique’s Moment #14

More About Nique’s Moment #14

January 13, 2001

The Hawks retire Dominique Wilkins’ #21 jersey in a ceremony at Philips Arena

In a ceremony held in front of a sell-out crowd of 19,455, the Hawks retired Dominique Wilkins’ famous #21 to the rafters, making him only the third player to have his jersey retired by the franchise alongside Bob Pettit and Lou Hudson.

More About Nique’s Moment #13

More About Nique’s Moment #13

February 9, 1988

In a back-and-forth battle, Dominique Wilkins scores 49 points and Charles Barkley scores 47 in a 112-110 Hawks win

Not all of Dominique’s great shootouts occurred in the playoffs. Just days after scoring 29 in the 1988 NBA All-Star game (more on that later in the countdown), Nique staged an impressive duel with the Sixers’ Charles Barkley, scoring 49 points in a 112-110 to Barkley’s 47.

More About Nique’s Moment #12

More About Nique’s Moment #12

October 29, 1982

Dominique Wilkins makes his NBA Debut, scoring 23 points against the Pistons

After coming to Atlanta via a trade with the Utah Jazz, Nique made his debut in a Hawks uniform at the start of the 1982-83 season. Right off the bat, Hawks fans got a glimpse of what was in store for them for the next decade, as Wilkins scored 23 points in a 94-86 loss to Detroit.

More About Nique’s Moment #11

More About Nique’s Moment #11

December 10, 1986

Dominique ties a career-high with 57 points against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls

The NBA loves a marquee matchup, and on a cold Atlanta night in December of 1986 they got one at the Omni, as Dominique Wilkins, the returning scoring champion, tied a career-high with 57 points while Michael Jordan (who would win that season’s scoring title) went for 41 in a 123-95 Hawks win.

More About Nique’s Moment #10

More About Nique’s Moment #10

February 7, 1988

Wilkins scores 29 points in the NBA All-Star game

In two previous All-Star appearances, Dominique had scored a total of 22 points on 24 shots. But during the midseason classic in 1988, Wilkins stepped his game up dramatically, playing 30 minutes and pouring in 29 points as the Eastern Conference took a close 138-133 victory over the West.

More About Nique’s Moment #9

More About Nique’s Moment #9

November 6, 1992

Nique scores 30 points in return from Achilles injury

Dominique was relatively lucky throughout his career in terms of avoiding injuries, rarely missing any time through the bulk of the prime of his career. The one exception to that was in 1992, when he ruptured his Achilles on January 28, knocking him out for the rest of the season. An Achilles injury is one of the worst a basketball player can suffer. It requires a long road to recovery, and it was no different with Wilkins.

More About Nique’s Moment #8

More About Nique’s Moment #8

February 6, 1988

Wilkins loses Slam Dunk Contest to Michael Jordan

It might seem strange to view a dunk contest in which he was defeated as one of the top moments of Dominique’s career, but we list it here for a couple of reasons. Number one, the 1988 dunk contest was one of the seminal events in league history, and probably one of the two or three most memorable moments in the history of All-Star Weekend. And number two, history seems to show that the contest is most memorable for Nique losing than Jordan winning.

More About Nique’s Moment #7

More About Nique’s Moment #7

February 2, 1993

Wilkins breaks Bob Pettit’s career franchise scoring record

When discussing the history of the Hawks franchise, there are a couple of names featured most prominently on the Mt. Rushmore: Bob Pettit and Dominique Wilkins. Pettit was one of the most dominant players in the NBA during the 1950s and 60s, leading the Hawks to their only title in 1958.

More About Nique’s Moment #6

More About Nique’s Moment #6

September 8, 2006

Dominique Wilkins inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame

As part of the six-member Class of 2006, Nique was introduced as a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame on September 8th during a ceremony at the Hall of Fame museum in Springfield, MA.

More About Nique’s Moment #5

More About Nique’s Moment #5

February 10, 1985

Dominique wins his first Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis

Competing in his second contest, Dominique remembered a lesson from losing his first year – come strong or don’t come at all.

More About Nique’s Moment #4

More About Nique’s Moment #4

April 19, 1986

Nique scores 50 points in a 135-127 playoff win over the Detroit Pistons

When people think about Dominique and the NBA playoffs, the mind immediately jumps to his duel with Larry Bird in 1988. And though that performance may have defined Wilkins’ career, it wasn’t the only (and perhaps not his most spectacular) great postseason start on his resume.

More About Nique’s Moment #3

More About Nique’s Moment #3

April 12, 1986

Wilkins scores 34 points to clinch 1986 season scoring title

Dominique won one scoring title in his career, averaging 30.3 point per game during the 1985-86 season. It was a very close race, as both Alex English of Denver and Adrian Dantley of Utah finished just a hair behind at 29.8.

More About Nique’s Moment #2

More About Nique’s Moment #2

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.

More About Nique’s Moment #1

More About Nique’s Moment #1