The Human Highlight Film, Dominique Wilkins, was on the BS Report with Bill Simmons to discuss his immortal 1988 Dunk Contest showdown with Michael Jordan. ‘Nique thought he had won, and even told Grantland’s Editor-In-Chief, that MJ thought so, too.
Here’s what ‘Nique told Simmons about that ’88 contest:
“[Michael Jordan] said, ‘Hey, you probably won. You know it, I know it. But hey, you’re in Chicago…what can I tell you?’”
Wilkins acknowledged that he probably won, but added, “It could have gone either way.”
In case we need to jog your memory, the 1988 Dunk Contest in Chicago featured MJ and ‘Nique in a rubber match after the Hawks high-flyer won in ’86 and MJ took the crown — as an injured Wilkins watched from the sidelines — in 1987.
In 1988, it came down to MJ’s final dunk, trailing ‘Nique 145-97, in his adopted town of Chicago. So the Bulls star needed a perfect 50 or a 49 to win. He decided to again dunk from the free throw line, just like he had the year before. ‘Nique, as he mentions in the interview with Simmons, cheered him on, too.
MJ was awarded a 50 and won the rubber match against his dunk rival.
Here’s MJ’s free throw line dunk from 1987, which is the more famous clip:
Personally, I prefer MJ’s free throw line dunk the year before his match-up with ‘Nique because it’s like he’s walking on air. But if you look at the video of the ’88 contest, Dominique does have a case for getting hosed by the results. Some of his dunks are just insane, and you can’t discount the Chicago crowd’s favoritism. Still, that 1988 Dunk Contest will live on in lore, especially if the Dunk Contests continue to flounder moving forward.
Who was a better dunker: MJ or ‘Nique?
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