Atlanta Hawks

Dominique Wilkins and Spud Webb Dominated the 1986 Slam Dunk Tournament

In the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, one name was eagerly awaited by the fans. Dominique Wilkins, the previous year’s title holder as well as the league’s scoring leader, had decided to join and try to win the title for the second time. The only problem was, his Atlanta Hawks teammate, Spud Webb, had something different in mind.

By merely entering the tournament, Spud had already set a record by being the shortest NBA basketball player to join the slam dunk contest at only 5 feet 7 inches. The fans were truly surprised at seeing the diminutive size of Spud Webb as he lined up with his fellow dunking competitors. He was the only player standing below 6 feet. Dominique Wilkins himself far towers over him at 6 feet and 8 inches.

As expected, the tournament immediately became an exhilarating spectacle. Two famous basketball players competed against each other as they showcased some of the best slam dunks in NBA history. But Spud Webb prevailed and took home the slam dunk championship that night. If you look at the video reels, you can see the happiness on Dominique’s face about his teammate beating him.

The Human Highlight Film

Dominique Wilkins is a joy to watch whenever he had the ball, either just dribbling it, making a simple lay up or slamming a thunderous dunk. Always a great scorer, he has continuously been ranked as among the most prolific scorers in the history of the NBA. He also holds the record of making the most number of free throws during a regular season game without a single miss. It was during an Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls game in 1992 when he made 23 free throw shots.

The Dominique Wilkins and Spud Webb dunking match up in 1986 was not the only one in which he was most known for. It was his rivalry with Michael Jordan for the Slam Dunk title that basketball fans have been treated to among the best dunks in the history of the tournament. It was during one of these match ups that Jordan did his famous dunk of taking off from the free throw line.

Dominique won the Slam Dunk Championship first in 1985 then again five years later in 1990 against Kenny Smith.

He was drafted by the Utah Jazz in 1982, but he expressed his intention of not playing for the team. The Jazz then traded him to the Atlanta Hawks were Dominique played the best years of his professional career. It was during his stint as a Hawk that he was voted as a nine-time NBA All Star player.

After playing for Atlanta for 11 years, he then moved to the Los Angeles Clippers, followed by the Boston Celtics, a stint in Greece, then the San Antonio Spurs and then the Orlando Magic.

He was plagued with injuries that resulted to his lowering stats in later years. But these would not be enough to mar his stellar records as the ‘Human Highlight Film’ who have dazzled fans of all basketball generations with his soaring-high dunks and scoring skills. And of course, for that fateful night in 1986 together with Spud Webb and the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

Recommended for you

Follow us