The Sports Junkies are obsessed with basketball, so it’s fitting that they were a bit starstruck when visited in-studio Wednesday by Hall Of Fame basketball great Dominique Wilkins.
“The Human Highlight Film” most known for his 10 seasons on the Atlanta Hawks (also attended Dunbar High School), came by to talk about life in the NBA and life after, dealing with the challenges of being a diabetic.
Dominique, who was in town to speak on Capitol Hill about Diabetes Awareness, briefly attended Dunbar High in Baltimore before transferring to a school in North Carolina where he was the MVP for the back-to-back state champions.
Lurch, a known DeMatha grad, asked Dominique why he chose Dunbar over his alma mater. Wilkins acknowledged that then-coach Morgan Wootten came and talked to him about attending DeMatha, but responded, “Hey Dunbar was the school. Everybody wanted to go to Dunbar.” From there he went down to visit the state of North Carolina where he met his future coach.
“When I was 16, I left and went to North Carolina and the high school coach saw me play on the playground and said ‘you live here?’ and I’m like ‘I’m not sure yet’. He took me to his home, I end up living with him for that year he said ‘only thing I want from you is you have to play for my team. That’s the tradeoff’. And that team ended up going 76-1.”
The 6’8″ starred at University of Georgia, but refused to play for the Utah Jazz when he was drafted by the team in 1982 after coming out of college a year early.
“At that time, let me tell you the reason I didn’t want to go there. They said the reason why they were going to draft me is they wanted me to play the Power Forward and Adrian Dantley to play Small Forward. I’m like ‘Ain’t no way that I was playing Power Forward!’. In the league in those days, that was suicide. I wasn’t playing Power Forward.”
The Jazz, who selected Wilkins 3rd overall in the draft, later traded him to the Atlanta Hawks for John Drew, Freeman Williams and $1 million cash. “That was a lot of money back then,” said Wilkins.
Dominique who was in-studio as the Novo Nordisk ambassador, also spread the word about the importance of taking care of your body if diagnosed with Diabetes. Novo Nordisk is a leading healthcare company in the fight for diabetic care.
“I’ve been a diabetic for 12 years now so I’ve teamed up with Norvo over the last 5 years to really educate people on healthy living, prevention, but importantly just being able to manage your disease because it’s a very manageable disease.”
Dominique says the hardest transition for people to make after being diagnosed with the disease is changing their diet and exercising. “A lot of times people think that you can have one without the other, ” Wilkins said, “You’ve got to have them altogether.”
You can donate to the American Diabetes Association by clicking here.
View the gallery of Dominique hanging in-studio with the Junks.