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Remembering Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and the 1988 dunk contest

Feb 14, 2013, 3:07 PM EDT

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Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins was on the Dan Patrick Radio Show Thursday talking about the legacy of Michael Jordan. It was Jenkins that wrote the SI cover piece on Jordan at age 50 for the next edition (once you stop looking at Kate Upton and the last edition). It’s interesting because often fans tend to think of Jordan the fully formed superstar of the 1990s and forget Jordan of the 1980s — a guy considered a showboat and a guy who had to learn how to win in the NBA. For three years in a row the Pistons stomped on the Bulls in the playoffs and if that happened today Jordan would be shown no mercy. But he grew from it. Players evolve.

Jenkins and Patrick kept coming back to the legendary 1988 dunk contest between Jordan and Dominique Wilkins. And rather than just tell you about it with words, why don’t we just show it to you. Enjoy.

  1. wlubake - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    What I love about watching that old 1988 contest is how Jordan and Wilkins look serious as a heart attack, competing to win. Wilkins looks at the judges table immediately after Jordan dunks. They get in each other’s space while the opponent is about to go. There is real competitive spirit oozing from their dunks.

    Compare that to the high fiving grab-a** fest that we have now, and it’s pretty fun to watch two competitors give it their all for pride.

  2. asublimeday - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    GOAT. Always and without reasonable debate.

    • somekat - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      if Wilt isn’t included, sure

  3. captainwisdom8888 - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Take Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, put them together and you get Lebron James. I’m no Lebron Lover, but after he gets 4 or 5 more rings…maybe more…LJ will undoubtedly be the GOAT. There’s nothing he can’t do, and at this very moment I feel comfortable with calling Lebron the most TALENTED player to ever play the game of basketball. MJ is still the king though, and he holds the title of the GREATEST player to ever pay the game….for now.

    • alfiemonstaa - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      this is what you dont get bro, MJ revolutionez the whole game of basketball! it wasnt just stats, it was DPY it was the Dunks he created it was the cluth gene he had it was the killer instinct he brought to the game, as in NO ONE ever had a killer instinct like him! i mean ppl were killing for his shoes while he was still playing! need i say more?????? geeeeeezzz

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:41 PM

      leBron will be lucky to win two more rings.

  4. chadsay - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    I was 10 years old and this was the day that I learned life isn’t fiar. ‘Nique beat him outright but, the contest was in Chicago and the judges were biased. Fact: MJ hasn’t dunked from behind the free throw line, yet. He steps over it every time Ask Dr. J…

    • dacapt704 - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:38 PM

      True…I was 11 and remember it the same way! Nique was robbed! But still a GREAT contest that year

    • vikesfansteve - Feb 15, 2013 at 9:49 AM

      Yep, Wilkins dunks were far better.

  5. somekat - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    ahhh, back when the dunk contest was still exciting. It’s been on life support since the early 90’s. It’s been dead since Iggy as robbed so they could give a short guy the title for the corniest dunk i’ve ever seen win a dunk contest (including McDonalds all american contests)

  6. southbeachtalent - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    The pioneers of bad ass!!

  7. captainwisdom8888 - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    MJ benefitted from being the best player during his particular era…the world was on the verge of a social media explosion, and professional athletes were becoming known and marketed worldwide more so than ever. Wilt Chamberlain was accomplishing unspeakable things on the basketball court back in the day, but very few people were aware of his dominance due to the limited social media at the time.

    Ask a 100 people who scored the most points in NBA history and I’m guessing that only around 20% would guess Kareem Abdul-Jabari…while at least 60% would say Michael Jordan.

    • chicitybulls - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      “Ask a 100 people who scored the most points in NBA history and I’m guessing that only around 20% would guess Kareem Abdul-Jabari…while at least 60% would say Michael Jordan.”

      It depends who you ask. If you ask the avg Joe on the street who occassionally watches basketball then maybe you’re right. But if you ask 100 basketball fans it would be the other way around. The variables matter.

  8. captainwisdom8888 - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:34 PM


  9. cantonbound13 - Feb 14, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    This was when all stars had balls & participated in the dunk contest.

  10. Mr. Wright 212 - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    These were my halcyon years. Seems like yesterday I was watching this with my dad and my friends.

  11. kavika6 - Feb 15, 2013 at 6:30 AM

    Dominique was screwed big time.

  12. daknight93 - Feb 17, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    Nique was robbed because contest was in Chicago…I was 13yrs.old watching the event and was in shock Nique didn’t win..that double windmill by nique was a 50; the judges were heavily influenced by the hometown crowd which was a shame.

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