Dominique Wilkins: The Most Underrated Player in NBA History

Mike B.Correspondent IJanuary 8, 2010

When you think of the NBA in the 1980s, the first names that probably pop into your mind are Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Julius Erving.

But one name that you might forget about—Dominique Wilkins.

Unlike those other guys, Wilkins never won a championship in the 80s and in fact, he never won a championship during his entire 15-year NBA career.   

However, 'Nique was truly special to watch whether he was flying through the air for one of his many spectacular dunks or dropping 47 points on Bird's Boston Celtics. He possessed the ability to wow the crowd every time he stepped foot onto the hardwood.

Wilkins is perhaps the most underrated player in NBA history.

He currently ranks 10th in all-time in scoring with 26,668 points and averaged nearly 25 points for his career, but a lot of newer fans don't know very much about him.

Wow, 25 points per game?

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That's just five points less than Michael Jordan's career scoring average.

Another impressive stat: Wilkins is one of only six players in NBA history to average at least 25 ppg for ten consecutive seasons. The others are Jerry West, Jordan, Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal, and Allen Iverson.

That's pretty good company.

Wilkins wasn't only an underrated scorer, he also never gets the credit that he deserves when it comes to dunking.

Sure, most people would say that he's the third-greatest dunker behind Vince Carter and Jordan, but I've always believed that he is hands down the best we've ever seen.

Nothing against Carter and Jordan, but Wilkins just brought something a little better to the table.  

Go and YouTube 'Nique if you're not familiar with his highlights. There's no doubt that you'll be blown away with the "video game" dunks that he pulled off back in the day.

That's why he earned the nickname, the "Human Highlight Film."

I still can't believe that Wilkins only won two of the five dunk contests that he participated in. He really should have won four.

The only reason he lost to his Atlanta Hawks teammate Spud Webb in 1986 was because Webb was only 5'7".

Webb didn't do anything special. The judges were just amazed that someone that short could actually dunk. 

And Wilkins lost to Jordan in 1988 simply because Jordan was more popular and was performing in front of his hometown fans.

Another reason Wilkins should be considered unappreciated was the fact that he was left off the Original Dream Team roster in 1991.

Yeah I know, you can't add every star in the league. There was only room for 12 players, but could someone please tell me why he was passed up for both Chris Mullin and Christian Laettner?

Mullin was a great player, but he was no Dominique and Laettner hadn't even logged a single minute in the NBA when he was selected.

In addition, Wilkins was no where to be found on the "NBA's 50 Greatest Players" list. He really deserved a spot somewhere on that list. Maybe he should have taken Bill Walton's place.

Oh well.

Dominique Wilkins may never have won a NBA championship or a Most Valuable Player Award, but he'll always be a legend in my book.

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