American basketball great Dominique Wilkins is ready to score big for Barbados.
While the full details will be revealed in the coming weeks, the 53 year-old, who starred in the National Basketball Championships while playing for the Atlanta Hawks in the 1980s, revealed today that he would be involved in efforts to improve the sport here.
Wilkins has spent the last week here vacationing with his wife Sunny and spoke to Barbados TODAY while visiting Speaker of the House of Assembly Michael Carrington at Parliament this afternoon.
The NBA slam dunk champion, who has family here, was also accompanied by Democratic Labour Party member, Patrick Tannis, and his wife Trisha.
“We are definitely going to come back. We have a lot of stuff we are doing. We are putting together charity events and stuff with basketball, a golf tournament, we are working on a lot of things,” the current Atlanta Hawks Vice President and Fox Television commentator said.
“Our goal is to implement a different style of basketball teaching than they are used to, something that will help them fast track becoming a better player through simple measures.
While details on how this effort to enhance basketball in Barbados will be “announced later”, the intention was to use the basketballer’s skills knowledge and vast experience.
Wilkins is considered one of the best to play the popular sport and is one of only 12 players to score more than 25, 000 in his NBA career. He is also a nine-time NBA all star and slam dunk champion in 1985 and 1990.His advice to Barbadian youngsters interested in pursuing a career in his beloved sport was to be ambitious and focussed.
“If you have an ambition to be an NBA player one day you have got to be willing to put in the hard work, you have got to be willing to make sacrifices, you have got to be willing to work on things that are difficult instead of things that are easy like shooting and dribbling and stuff,” he said.
“Anybody can do that, but to do the other things that make you potentially a great player those are the things you need to work on.”
Wilkins said he was very much in love with and involved with basketball, but was in no doubt that his era was the best.
“I think the game today is a little different than when I was playing, it is not as physical. I think you have the more hybrid players than those who play natural positions, but don’t get me wrong I still love it, but I think that era in the 70s, 80s and 90s was outstanding,” he stated.
Asked what the major difference between then and now was, Wilkins said: “I think talent level. I think guys don’t play really a natural positioning and I just think the way they play the game from the inside out was so different because we didn’t rely on three point shots, we had what we called a break and a secondary break. It never stopped, there was always a flow, there was always a movement on offence and there were big physical guys, those guys were physical in that era.
“I came up with the greatest high school class in history, not one guy went to pros out of high school. I averaged 29 coming out of high school and I didn’t think about the pros, it’s just you couldn’t do it in those days, the league was too physical. If you look at the players who were in that era on every team you can name a Hall of Famer, at least one,” he added.
Wilkins leaves Barbados tomorrow, but promised to be back.
“It is great, this is going to be our annual spot now. We have had a great time, I love it,” he said. (SC)