The American player whose full name is Jacques Dominique Wilkins and was born on March 16, 1960 in Paris was undoubtedly the biggest transfer in the history of not just Greek, but European basketball too. He was the player who, after graduating from the University of Georgia with a 21.6-point average, drafted in 1982 by the Utah Jazz and immediately been acquired by the Atlanta Hawks (through and exchange), came to give the …still waters of Greek sports quite a stir in the summer of 1995.
After an impressive NBA career, Dominique Wilkins decided to make a difference and came to Greece putting on a jersey with the “clover” on his chest for the second consecutive season (the first being his previous season with the Boston Celtics). As was well expected, Dominique Wilkins’ coming to Panathinaikos caused delirious joy to the fans with the “Human Highlight Film” scoring an average of 20.9 points per game and grabbing 7 rebounds on average. The commotion he caused is well justified even without taking a look at his stats. In 1995 fans of the “Greens” went to the airport to even welcome his wife, arriving just a few days ahead of Dominique. When the man himself came to Greece, he faced a truly unique picture of hundreds of fans flocking to the airport to greet him. He was practically put in “getaway” car to leave the airport almost awestruck by such a warm welcome. He had never seen other fans than those in the NBA and the Panathinaikos’ fan were most certainly a completely different experience for him in his life had he seen so many fans!
Dominique Wilkins came to Greece and Panathinaikos for a single reason: winning the European championship title; and he reached that goal in his first season. Wilkins was the leader in Bozidar Maljkovic’s team and was a safe bet that he would lead the “Greens” offensively to the 1996 Final Four in Paris, at the “Palais de Bercy”. It was in his very place of birth that Wilkins celebrated Panathinaikos’ first European championship, being the Final Four MVP at that.
In 1982 Dominique Wilkins had been drafted by the Utah Jazz, but found himself ending up with the Atlanta Hawks after an exchange of players. He played for the Hawks until 1994, when he transferred to the Boston Celtics. Then followed Panathinaikos, Fortitudo Bologna, and then returned to the US where he played for the Saint Antonio Spurs and later on the Orlando Magic.