Dominique Wilkins is part of the NBA's 75 greatest players alongside another NBA legend James Worthy. The two went on to have storied careers, but Wilkins revealed there was a real chance of them playing together in 1982, but the L.A. Lakers blew it.
1982 Draft Class
The Lakers tapped Worthy as its number one overall in the 1982 draft. Terry Cummings was selected second, while Wilkins was chosen at third. In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Nique was asked by host Vincent Goodwill what would have been if he got selected by the Lakers as their first pick, but Wilkins revealed he almost played in L.A. that year but plans never materialized.
"Wilkins: James Worthy was the real deal, but you know, the Lakers tried to get us both.
Goodwill: How'd they try to get you both? Explain that to me because I don't think people know that. Do you know the details of the trade?
Wilkins: I don't know the details but I just remember Jerry West and I talked about that a few times. He said, 'Yeah, we tried to get you guys both. But it didn't work out because teams just didn't want to give up that pick to get you. But at the end of the day, it worked out for me being in Atlanta."
Wilkins could have won a title playing for the Purple and Gold or had a different career altogether. It's crazy to think there was a real chance to have both top picks in the same team, but the Lakers blew their chances.
It would have been a dream team with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes, Worthy, and Nique had the plan pushed through. However, as Wilkins said in the interview, it ended well for him and James.
The Utah Jazz traded their third pick to the Atlanta Hawks for John Drew, Freeman Williams, and $1 million in cash. It would go down as one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history as Wilkins became The Human Highlight Film in Atlanta while the players the Jazz received would only play for Utah for four years in total.
If Worthy and Wilkins played in the star-studded Lakers team in 1982, it could be a different story in terms of not achieving more incredible things together. Worthy became a 7-time All-Star, 3-time NBA champion, and a one-time finals MVP, all with the Lakers. Meanwhile, Wilkins was a 9-time All-Star a 2-time Dunk Contest winner, and although he failed to win a title in his career, he blessed the fans with some memorable gravity-defying highlights and was one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA.
Nique as a Lakers would probably go down as one of the biggest what-ifs in NBA history. Could he have been as equally dominant for the Lakers as when he played in Atlanta? The only missing piece was an NBA title in his resume. We're sure that would be Wilkins's only regret for not playing for the Lakers when he started in the league.