dominique wilkins was my first ever favorite athlete (kareem abdul-jabaar technically beat him to it, but i think i was too young to attain the level of statistical sophistication and daily obsession for it to really count, at least in the same way that my mental shrines to 'nique, gretzky, kovalev, morozov, and now malkin (and semin) do). i was crushed when he was foolishly traded away from the hawks (for danny manning no less) during the team's best, and his all around most complete, season. i still clearly remember going to the iconic aunt kizzie's back porch when the hawks were in town to play the clips and lakers with the intention of corralling him there. what do you know, he sauntered in with his crew, and li'l 11 year old me, decked out in a dominique t-shirt and holding the red 21 jersey, nervously approached him intending to get an autograph. he obliged and i had a bizarrely touching experience that stayed with me to today (though not nearly as painfully meaningful as the memory of the 47 he dropped in that brutal (and wholly unjust - hey it's the nba!) game 7 loss to the celtics in '88). but so yea, dominique was the best.
fast forward to now and here, when and where my sporting interest lies solely with hockey. the nhl all star "skills competition" is tomorrow night and it's always been a guilty pleasure of mine. the league, as a part of its desperate attempt to do anything to sell the game to the american audience, has fashioned an insanely silly-sounding nba slam-dunk style shootout. the shootout has become an important part of the game, no doubt, but the point is to score, not to do a robbie schremp-style lacrosse move. and here's the kicker, my boyhood idol, dominique wilkins, and former la kings draft pick tom glavine are two of the "celebrity" judges.
glavine i guess makes sense, at least he's played hockey. but how on earth is dominique going to "judge" this thing in any way that isn't pandering and preposterous. anyway, a part of me feels bad that the original human highlight reel has resorted to this, but i guess you can't really complain when your two loves are combined into one unholy union.
this is a video created by an old friend a long time ago (before it was easy to do this kind of stuff). featured is dominique in the greatest (and again, most unjust) slam-dunk contest of all time (the last two min of the vid are the highlight if you don't feel the need to watch random shots of weirdos arguing at night in santa monica circa 1988). i don't see how it's possible for pavel datsyuk and marian hossa to engage in a similar battle, but 'nique will be there either way.