Issue 55: Cool Cats: The Human Highlight Reel

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Happy day after the Super Bowl! Let’s hope this email is more entertaining than the game. Today’s issue is part of the Cool Cats segment, looking at a player who’s doing interesting things both on and off the court. Today’s player: Dominique Wilkins.

Wilkins is the most memorable player to ever don an Atlanta Hawks jersey, and he’s a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. He made nine All-Star teams and once led the league in scoring with 30.3 points per game. I think I maybe scored 30 points once in an intramural game and that was when I had the best shooting night ever. ‘Nique averaged that for an entire season. So let’s hop into that nickname.

Do You Like Highlights?

Highlights come in a few forms. You can highlight sections of a book or pieces of your hair, a la multiple members of N*SYNC.

As far as I know, Wilkins never dyed his hair any wild colors. But he did embody the other definition of “highlights” — namely, he was a threat to do something spectacular anytime he touched the ball. Hence, the nickname of the “Human Highlight Reel,” or occasionally, the “Human Highlight Film.”

Wilkins’ specialty was jamming — he had these wild windmill and double-clutch dunks that are just a joy to watch. I’ve never seen someone slam with such simultaneous ferocity and grace. Plus, the old Atlanta Hawks “Pac-Man” logo really pops on those short shorts, particularly on a slam dunk.

Wilkins won two slam dunk contests during his career and also lost one to his teammate Spud Webb, who was a full 13 inches shorter than him (and probably still is. I don’t think either player is old enough where their bones are starting to shrink).

In fact, let’s enjoy a few Human Highlight Reel dunks together.

A Taste for Fine Wines

Wilkins also has a taste for fine wines and owns the “Wilkins Private Reserve” label. I’ve never tried his wine but he had a long-term goal to own a private label, so I’m glad he accomplished his dream.

Wilkins was born in Paris, and at the end of his basketball career, he briefly played overseas. His fondness for wines grew after playing in Italy. And that’s understandable, as I’m pretty sure it’s a requirement to drink a glass of Barolo during your postgame press conference.

In 2015, the Hawks unveiled a statue of Wilkins in front of their arena. That was probably because of his playing career and not because of the wine business, but it’s never been confirmed either way.

Other Fun Tidbits

Wilkins currently serves as the Hawks’ Vice President of Basketball, is the color analyst for Hawks Games on Fox Sports Network South, and maintains a strong presence within the Atlanta community.

He’s partnered with 24 Hour Fitness to develop his own basketball academy and starred in a TitleMax commercial with the late Verne Troyer. I don’t know if additional acting gigs are in Nique’s future, but that’s probably for the best.

And here’s a bit of draft trivia: though he played most of his career with the Atlanta Hawks, Wilkins was actually drafted by the Utah Jazz.

To acquire Wilkins, the Hawks simply had to send $1 million in cash, a player with two first names (John Drew) and a player with two last names (Freeman Williams) in order to make the deal happen. Wilkins is among the best players to ever step on NBA courts, while Drew and Williams played a combine four seasons for the Jazz. But that’s why hindsight is 20/20, you know?

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Other Reads and Watches

According To Super Bowl Ads, Americans Love America, Animals And Sex

Did the NBA All-Star Game Just Get Blocked by LeBron James?

Bill Russell on receiving COVID-19 vaccine: ‘This is one shot I won’t block’

UNC Ball Boy Hits 3 Halfcourt Shots In A Row


That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!


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