Friday, September 08, 2006
In Honor of Dominique's Induction into Basketball Valhalla
Dominique, even moreso than Dale Murphy, was the ultimate icon on the Atlanta sports scene when I was a kid (especially since we moved to Georgia just as Murph's peak was ending, although he did have a terrific one-year renaissance in 1987 for a truly terrible Braves team). There was nothing more exciting on the sports scene than going to the Omni to see 'Nique do something electric. The fact that my Dad disapproved of Dominique's dunking, remarking on one occasion after Wilkins brought the Omni to a happy fit with a breakaway tomahawk number that he didn't understand what was so exciting about that, made him that much cooler.
In case you're wondering, my favorite Nique memory isn't very original, but it's the game seven against the Celtics in Boston Garden in 1987 that the Hawks lost despite Nique absolutely going off. My feeling watching the game unfold was "gosh, we're going toe-to-toe with the Celtics and Nique is matching the second-best player in the NBA shot-for-shot." Then, the Hawks acquired Moses Malone and Reggie Theus in the off-season, sending expectations through the roof, and the Hawks promptly got knocked out the following year by the Bucks. So you see, the Hawks elevating expectations and then failing to meet them is nothing new.