The NBA left him off their collection of 50 greatest players in ’96, but no one is going to leave Dominique Wilkins off the list of the greatest dunkers ever. In-game dunkers especially — he’s, without a doubt, one of the best we’ve ever seen.
In-game dunking, particularly in traffic — those are the special ones because you catch people off guard.Dominque Wilkins, The BS Report with Bill Simmons
Dominique sometimes went out of his way to catch people off guard. Depending on who he was going up against, Wilkins used throwdowns to send a message and make the shot blocker hesitant the next time he goes up for a dunk.
The reason I dunked so hard is to keep big guys from trying to challenge my shot. Give them a second thought, so if you challenge my shot, I’m gonna put you on the poster. That was my attitude, but more importantly, it gave me free rein to the basket because they weren’t going to challenge it most times.Dominique Wilkins, The BS Report with Bill Simmons
The ones who did challenge him, more often or not, would find themselves on the wrong side of the poster, resulting in one of the greatest facial dunks in NBA history. Dominique’s most notable one — a baseline jam on Bob Lanier at the end of the game against the Bucks.
A lot of the guys have a tough time dealing with the fact they got dunked on. Lanier took that to the next level, giving Nique almost a decade-long silent treatment for throwing it down on his head.
Right after I retired, he said, ‘You know, I just started talking to you again.’ I was like, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘The dunk you had on me on the baseline when I was with Milwaukee, I had to go home and talk to my kids, and my daughter said that dunk was on TV, you got dunked on by Dominique Wilkins like that?? I didn’t like you after that, so I didn’t speak to you for nine years.’Dominque Wilkins, The BS Report with Bill Simmons