Jacques Dominique Wilkins is a retired American professional basketball player (born in France) who primarily played for the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA. Wilkins was a nine-time NBA All-Star, and one of the best dunkers in NBA history, earning the nickname “The Human Highlight Film.” Wilkins participated in five slam dunk contests (1984, 1985, 1986, 1988 and 1990), winning two. In 1985, he beat rookie Michael Jordan in the finals. In 1986, Wilkins was defeated by his 5′ 7″ teammate, Spud Webb. In 1988, the highly anticipated rematch of Wilkins vs. Jordan resulted in Jordan winning 147 to 145, controversially.
As a kid, I tried to imitate the 1988 NBA Slam Dunk Contest dunks on the NERF basketball hoop attached above my bedroom door. Or, even better, on the metal basketball hoop mounted in my late grandparents’ basement that my dad built from Erector Set pieces in the late 1950s. These dunks were essentially the practice of accidentally slamming my nine-year-old extremities into the door frame or doorknob as I contorted my body to get a foam ball to pass through an orange plastic hoop. And the crowd goes wild.