Wizards Coach Randy Wittman’s inability to dunk a basketball wasn’t the only thing I chatted about with NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins on Friday.
In addition to putting his former teammate and longtime friend on blast for barely being able to touch the rim as a player, and calling me out for botching his nickname — Human Highlight Film, not Human Highlight Reel, obviously — Wilkins explained what made John Wall’s dunk in the dunk contest one of the best he’d seen in a long time.
“A guy his size, to jump over someone, to grab the ball out of their hand and dunk it backwards, takes an unbelievable amount of timing and, more importantly, creativity,” said Wilkins, who was in town to speak at the Take Control of Your Diabetes conference on Saturday and promote the Diabetes Dream Team. “It was amazing. I mean, he brought the dunk contest back with that dunk. Unfortunately, I wish the whole dunk contest had a variety of dunks similar to that.”
Wilkins, a two-time NBA dunk contest champion, offered some thoughts on how to improve the event in future years.
“I think you go back to the old platform,” the former Atlanta Hawks star said. “You get a pair of sneakers, a basketball and you go out there and be creative. … You have to have an element of surprise. Sometimes what makes a dunk more exciting is when the crowd doesn’t know what you’re going to do. When you bring props, you pretty much know what we’re going to do.”
Wilkins, who played at Dunbar High in Baltimore before his family moved to North Carolina, has good memories of playing the Washington Bullets.
“Bernard King and I had some really big-time games that we played against one another,” he said. “The only guy that actually made me nervous in the NBA that I played against was Bernard King when he was with the Washington [Bullets].”
For the record, Wilkins says the Dr. J’s “rock the bay to sleep” dunk over the Lakers’ Michael Cooper in January 1983 is the best in-game dunk ever. It’s hard to argue with that.