Sports Nicknames - The Human Highlight Film

Dominique Wilkins always had the stature of a star, which made him impossible to ignore wherever he went. It was not just his self-belief that made him a potent weapon on the basketball courts, his incredible skill, coupled with strong willpower, made him the marquee NBA player for more than a decade. His ability to leave the opposition stunned and startled earned him his nickname at a very young age.

Dominique Wilkins - aka The Human Highlight Reel - Profile illustration.  Drawing.  Avatar art.

Humble Beginnings - College Level:

Wilkins made it to the Georgia Bulldogs team with the reputation of being a young, promising, and exciting player. Between 1979 and 1981, he averaged 21.6 points per game for the Bulldogs. In 1981, he was named the SEC Men's Basketball Player of the Year 1981.


His amazing ability and trademark dunks got him a great deal of attention at the College Level. It was a result of this special attention and exquisite performances that earned him an iconic nickname. Wilkins was nicknamed " The Human Highlight Film".

Why was Dominique Wilkins called "The Human Highlight Film"?

Dominique Wilkins could score one of the most acrobatic dunks of all time. His physical strength complemented his athletic potential as he went on to become one of the most iconic forwards of all time. His trademark 'Dunk' has often been defined as a one or two-handed windmill dunk.

Since his dunks seemed tailor-made for the highlights package, he was nicknamed "The Human Highlight Film" or "The Human Highlight Reel" at the College Level. Thus, everything that Wilkins did on the court earned the media's attention and caught the fans' eye. Thus, he fittingly could claim the tag of being a highlight film. Whatever he did, it had the potential and promise of making it to the highlights package.

Importantly, he won two slam Dunk Contests in 1985 and 1990.

NBA Career and Achievements:

Utah Jazz initially picked up Dominique Wilkins. However, a conflict of style resulted in a lopsided trade when Atlanta Hawks acquired his services.

It was a remarkable association between the franchise and the player. Wilkins finished his career as the all-time points leader for Atlanta Hawks. He scored 23,292 points for the franchise and averaged more than 25 points per game for 10 consecutive seasons. He was instrumental to the Hawks' domination in the 1980s.

Achievements and Awards:

He made it to the NBA All-Stars on an impressive nine occasions and was the NBA scoring champion in the 1986 NBA season. In that season, he averaged 30.3 points per game.

On an international level, he was a member of the team that won the FIBA World Cup in 1994.

In 2001, Atlanta Hawks honored him by retiring his jersey number 21 as a tribute to all his achievements and performances for the franchise. In 2006, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In 2021, he was included in the NBA 75, a list of the top 75 NBA players selected on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the NBA.

Post Retirement:

Following his retirement in 1999, he further strengthened his ties and association with the Atlanta Hawks as he assumed the position of vice-president of the Hawks.

As an acknowledgment of his efforts and incredible achievements, a statue of the Human Highlights Film sits in front of the State Farm Arena.


Click for more Sports Nicknames