1. Dominique Wilkins’ influence continues today
It’s likely no on doubted that Dominique Wilkins would be first. The old Atlanta Hawks logo is synonymous with this dunking legend. He was drafted by the Hawks with the third-overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft, and right away he dazzled with his amazing dunks. He was with the team from 1982 to 1994, when he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. He is a member of the 75th anniversary NBA selection, a one-time scoring champ, a nine-time NBA All-Star, a seven-time All-NBA selection, and has too many dunking highlights.
His energetic dunks and style of play brought joy to Atlanta basketball fans, as the team was subpar before his arrival. His legendary dunking battles against Michael Jordan inspired a generation, his shooting talents wowed crowds, and his will to score was unmatched.
According to TopEnd Sports, The Human Highlight Reel boasted a 42-inch vertical leap.
He forever shaped an NBA franchise and is by far the most influential Atlanta Hawks player ever. The reason for this isn’t just his rich basketball resume, but also the era he played in and the competition he faced. During the ’80s, 7 out of the top 20 NBA players competed, and ‘Nique could outshine the best of them.
Just like Bob Pettit, Wilkins does not shy away from applauding the new generation of NBA talent.
“These guys are great players today, make no mistake about that, it’s just that we played the game differently. It was a different era of basketball, a different brand of basketball, and that’s OK. There’s change in every sport. We’re not by ourselves in the NBA.”
Today, he can be heard offering commentary alongside Bob Rathbun the Bally Sports Network calling games for the good guys.
It is just another reason why he is well respected, and first in our ranking.