1986 Fleer: ‘Nique

Dominique Wilkins cannot be mentioned without the word “dunk.” The description best summing up “The Human Highlight Film” came from a panel of NBA commentators discussing great dunkers. The host described the moment that Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, Dr. J, Lebron James, or Wilkins would come flying over a competitor and slam the ball through the hoop. He told viewers that dunks are accompanied by a screaming player, but noted that it was the guys playing defense that were doing the screaming whenever Wilkins was airborne. He always made an impact when scored.

Shaquille O’Neal said Dominque Wilkins would be better known today if he hadn’t been stuck in the all encompassing shadow that Michael Jordan cast over all other players. That observation would take a couple decades to fully embed itself in fans’ memories, as it wasn’t readily apparent at the time. Jordan’s ubiquitous advertisements and repeated championship runs cemented his legacy while Wilkins didn’t quite get to the Finals and spent time playing overseas. Both were perennial rivals in the annual Slam Dunk Contest and they faced off against each other in a seemingly one-on-one shootout on December 10, 1986. The result? Wilkins scored 57 against Jordan’s 41. Jordan was the better player, but Wilkins could more than hold his own when both were at the top of their game.


I added a Dominique Wilkins rookie to my 1986 Fleer set* a few weeks ago. While other cards have since overshadowed this one, it was the Wilkins and Jordan rookies I always checked when browsing the latest Beckett baseketball magazines. This card was one of the two ’86 Fleer cards I had in my collection growing up and I made a point to make it an early addition to my reconstituted collection.

Per 82 Games2,036.53624.821.66.32.711.6

Dominique Wilkins Facts:

  • Ruptured his achilles tendon in 1992 and returned in time to play the ’92-93 season averaging 30 PPG.
  • Averaged 25 PPG for ten seasons and said he believes he could score 35 if he played in today’s NBA
  • He has a beer named after him (Human Highlight IPA) and a wine label
  • Born in Paris (his parents were stationed in there in the US Air Force)

*Note: I discontinued chasing the 1986 Fleer set in an effort to focus resources on other projects.