Dominique Wilkins on the competition in the ’80s and the ’90s: ‘There were no nights off.’
NO NIGHTS OFF

Dominique Wilkins on the competition in the ’80s and the ’90s: ‘There were no nights off.’

If you ask older NBA fans who’ve been following the game for several decades which era was the best in terms of competitiveness and great players, many of them would tell you the ’80s were the golden era of the NBA. Indeed, if you look back at that era, numerous great players from the ’80s are now considered legends. One of those players is without a doubt Dominique Wilkins, who is one of the most dominant scorers in NBA history. Unfortunately, even though his resume speaks volumes, Dominique doesn’t get the credit he deserves and is often overlooked by the younger generation of NBA fans.

In a recent interview for The Players Tribune, Dominique talked about what it was like in the NBA at that time. The number of talented players and great teams was astonishing, especially when you consider there weren’t any international players in the NBA during those years. Dominique remembers there were no nights off because almost every team had at least a great player capable of doing damage. The best teams usually had 2-3 players that were a problem and a tough matchup for anyone.

There were no nights off. The guys I played against like Bernard King, and I never feared anybody that I played against, but that is the only guy that made me nervous. When you have Bird one night, Doctor J one night, English, Worthy, Cummings, Larry Nance every night, there are no nights off. That was a tough time.

Dominique Wilkins, via The Players Tribune

It didn’t take long for Dominique to get accustomed to the NBA, and even he admits that he was worried when playing against all those great players at first. But, after a while, when he saw he is better than most of them, he completely changed his mentality and started to go after guys on a nightly basis.

I used to say I have to worry about how I am going to stop them, but then I got to the point after my first year when I said, ‘I’m not going to worry about them; they have to worry about me. I was coming at guys, and there wasn’t one guy that can guard me. It just won’t happen, and you will need some help. That was my mentality.

Dominique Wilkins, via The Players Tribune

Even though Dominique is one of those NBA legends who never won a title, this shouldn’t diminish his legacy and impact on the NBA throughout the ’80s and the 90’s. He was an incredible scorer and defender, and his career averages of 25 points per game are sheer proof he was pretty much unstoppable. The fact he played in such a challenging era is the biggest reason he never won a championship. NBA back then was highly competitive with several historical teams that dominated during the decade.