With the league-minimum one-year contract worth only $247,000 in his hand, and 13 NBA seasons in his resume, the 37-year old did just what he was asked for, leading the team in scoring with 18.2ppg!
It’s not that the Spurs had been winning that season – they’ve compiled a poor 20-62 record, poor enough to get them the 6th place in the Midwest division and the invaluable lottery ticket for the upcoming 1998 NBA draft. That ticket brought them a gem from the US Virgin islands – Tim Duncan!
Asked to fill the role of the key substitute of the bench, like Bob McAdoo filled for the 1980s Showtime Lakers, Wilkins showcased all of his skills in a 12-point win over the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring 28 points with 10-19 shooting from the field to go along with 11 boards.
One of the prime examples of 1980s superstar enduring might was his memorable performance in a game against the 1996 NBA finalist Seattle Supersonics led by three 1997 NBA All-Stars – Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf, which took part on December 26th, 1996.
Already next time down the floor, with the Spurs trailing 54-64 and Kemp up by 2-0, Dominique felt that now it’s his turn. He received a pass from A.J., went around Payton, and after leaping from the paint went over the leading Sonics shot-blocker Jim McIlvane, for a spectacular one-handed slam dunk! But Nique, who had won in the two NBA All-Star slam dunk competitions, wasn’t done yet!
With the Sonics up in front by 72-82, The Human Highlight Film again reached in his rich bag of super dunks and provided the play of the game.
This time it was Sean Elliott who was doubled down and threw a pass to open Wilkins at the perimeter. ‘Nique again went around Payton, jumped into the paint, and went up with tremendous acceleration, flying by Hersey Hawkins and Shawn Kemp for another spectacular one-handed slam dunk!
With Kemp and Payton scoring 20 points each the Sonics prevailed by 94-86. But this game will definitely be remembered for Wilkins acrobatic attractions – Nique scored 17 points and grabbed 7 boards!
That season Wilkins appeared in the 63 games for the Spurs, averaging team-high 18.2 points on 41.7 shooting from the field, along with 6.4 boards and 1.9 assists per game.