Guest contribution by current Dynasty intern, Jon Vollinger.
When you think about royal families in the history of the NBA, several names might come to mind. How about Kobe Bryant and his father Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant? What about Jimmy Walker and son Jalen Rose? Then there’s Brent Barry and his father Rick Barry, who both won NBA Championships. These families all stick out, among others. It’s not hard to find great players from the same breed. As they say, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
It’s easy to think of a father-son combo, but what about the greatest pair of brothers in NBA history? I’m talking about Dominique and Gerald Wilkins. On one hand, Dominique Wilkins is considered one of the greatest dunkers and most prolific scorers of all time. On the other hand, Dominique’s younger brother Gerald was a defensive specialist and one of the more underrated players of his time. Throw in Gerald’s son Damien – who currently plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder – and you’ve got the 2nd generation of true “NBA Royalty.”
Let’s start with Dominique. His nickname speaks for itself. “The Human Highlight Film,” as he would come to be known, is the Atlanta Hawks all-time leading scorer. Dominique is a 9 time NBA All-Star and a 2 time NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champion. During his career he registered 26,668 points while grabbing 7,169 boards. His career points total ranks him ninth all-time. Dominique is one of just 14 players to total 25,000 points or more for a career. In addition, Dominique was the NBA Scoring Champion in 1986, averaging 30.3 points per game on the season. He gained his nickname “The Human Highlight Film” for his incredible athletic ability and high-flying dunks. He trademarked the windmill dunk, using it to capture Slam Dunk titles in 1985 and 1990. Dominique is remembered as an acrobatic scorer, a great finisher, and one of most creative dunkers in history. His #21 jersey was retired by the Hawks on January 13, 2001. He is one of four players to have had their jerseys retired by the Hawks. Put simply, Dominique Wilkins is widely considered one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Gerald Wilkins, three years younger than brother Dominique, was a key player on the successful New York Knicks teams of the late 1980s. Gerald was a crafty guard known for his defensive skills, but he was also consistently the 2nd leading scorer on those Knicks teams, behind none other than NBA legend Patrick Ewing. Following in his brother Dominique’s footsteps, Gerald participated in the 1986 and 1987 Slam Dunk Contests. After Gerald became a free agent in 1992, he was picked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers signed Gerald as the final piece of the puzzle, hoping his notorious defense would help them beat Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Wilkins was even labeled as “the Jordan stopper.” After his stint with the Cavaliers ended in 1995, Gerald was continually hampered by injuries the rest of his career. Despite this, Gerald was considered a reliable sixth man for the remaining four years of his career with the Orlando Magic (1996-1999). In 1999, what turned out to be the final year of both Gerald’s and Dominique’s careers, the two brothers were finally united on the same team with the Orlando Magic.
If “NBA royalty” does exist, Damien Wilkins is the heir to the throne. And so the legacy begins. The son of a 14 year NBA mainstay and nephew of an NBA legend, Damien Wilkins comes from a noble line. After a quick and promising start to his NCAA career at North Carolina State, Damien entered the 2001 NBA Draft but decided to withdraw and transfer to Georgia. Damien had two solid seasons at Georgia but went undrafted in 2004. Damien took this personal. With a renewed diligence in the weight room, Wilkins put up strong numbers in the summer league and shined in the preseason with the Sonics. He made the team and the rest is history. Wilkins finally cracked the starting lineup midway through his rookie season. He came through in a big way, scoring a career-high 21 points, including the game-winning basket. Wilkins would start seven games throughout the remainder of the season. With the departure of Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen in 2007, Damien became a mainstay starter on the Sonics. On November 16, 2007 he scored a career high 41 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in a game against the Atlanta Hawks. Damien now plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Headlined by a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Dominique, the Wilkins family represents legitimate “NBA royalty.” Dominique was a high-flyer and Gerald could do it all. Now Damien represents the next prince in the Wilkins line of hardwood royalty.
Gerald Wilkins is a client of Dynasty Athlete Representation.