09 Mar Atlanta Hawks pay tribute to Dominique Wilkins with new statue

If one were to rank all of the living American basketball stars worthy of custom bronze statues, Jacques Dominique Wilkins should surely be pretty high up the list. After all, not for no reason was the nine-time NBA All-Star nicknamed ‘The Human Highlight Film’ during his almost two-decade long professional career: he remains one of the greatest dunkers in NBA history.

The statue of the Atlanta Hawks player (for the bulk of his career, at least) will be unveiled at a private ceremony on March 5, weighing in at 18,500 pounds and reaching a towering 13.5 feet tall.

The statue is the work of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s official sculptor Brian Hanlon, who made sure to depict Wilkins in one of his trademark explosive poses. The sculpture, which will be positioned between the Atlanta letters at Philips Arena, will be viewable by the public from March 6, after the preceding day’s private unveiling for family, close friends, former teammates and other NBA legends.

Wilkins is on more than nodding terms with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, having been inducted into it in 2006. That followed a hugely successful NBA career in which he accumulated 26,668 points, 7,167 rebounds and 2,677 assists. He made the All-NBA First Team once, in 1986, as well as the All-NBA Second Team four times between 1987 and 1993, and the All-NBA Third Team twice – in 1989 and 1994.

The former Hawks great – who left the team in 1994 for stints with the Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, Panathinaikos in Greece, San Antonio Spurs and Fortitudo Bologna in Italy, before finishing his career with Orlando Magic in 1999 – was understandably proud of his new statue.

He declared: “It just puts a stamp on your career. It’s very weird, and it’s almost surreal. Growing up, you never think about stuff like getting a statue. But to be immortalized that way is unbelievable. And the closer it gets, the more unbelievable it is. It’s a nervous feeling, but it’s a good nervous.”

Laughing, he added: “The thing with getting a statue is that you know you’ve been around a lo-o-o-o-ng time.”

That may be true, but the deserving nature of the accolade cannot be denied – we were certainly delighted to hear the news here at Big Statues, the home of custom bronze statues.

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