Once Lured by Tempting Offer to Leave NBA, 9X All-Star Unveils Details on Life-Changing International Career

Published 09/06/2023, 1:36 PM EDT

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Players’ choices of overseas career paths are infrequent, as the NBA stage holds most of the appeal. This is in contrast to Dominique Wilkins, who accomplished that despite being a nine-time NBA All-Star. Captivatingly, his path from the Boston Celtics to Greece’s top league consists of ambition, adventure, and remarkable basketball ability.

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Through an interview by Vlad TV, Wilkins shed light on the momentous decision to transition from a successful athlete to Europe’s best-compensated, giving us a distinctive perspective on his celebrated sportsmanship.

From NBA stardom to European royalty

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The year was 1995, a time when the European basketball scene was far from the global powerhouse it is today. Dominique Wilkins who was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 1982 found himself during a Celtics run when fortune smiled upon him. A Greek team extended an invitation to Wilkins during the league-wide lockout.

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A pivotal moment awaited him, unawares, during this trip. The generosity, friendliness, and heartfelt appreciation he received in Greece left an indelible mark on him. Wilkins was enticed by the Greek team’s alluring proposal, causing him to leave the NBA.

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In a recent interview, Wilkins describes the instance when he felt truly special, “It was just one of the most breathtaking moments I’ve ever had as a player to be treated the way I was treated in Greece uh they gave you the world and so I was like how can I turn this down and I was the highest paid guy in Europe.”

“It was just a is this an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Wilkins said,

Dominique Wilkins’ bold choice

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The complexity of the situation weighed heavily on Wilkins’ decision to move away from the NBA. His Celtics contract had two years remaining, which gave him a buyout option. Two years of funding totaling seven million dollars exceeds any other European athlete’s annual income.

His move as the catalyst, he became the highest-paid athlete in Europe, fostering a trend that emphasized the increasing interest in international basketball.

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Remaining an indelible mark in basketball lore, Dominique Wilkins’s leap of faith will always be remembered. Sometimes, the appeal of fresh horizons trumps home comforts in the sport’s global success. Motivated by Wilkins’ legacy, future athletes throughout the NBA and Europe will venture into uncharted areas and follow their desires wherever they might go.

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Written by:

Abhinav Tomar

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Abhinav Singh Tomar is an NBA author at EssentiallySports. He translates his love for the game into captivating coverage. A true hoop enthusiast and a fan of all sports, he brings the court to life with his insightful writing skills.
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Edited by:

Sherjeel Malik

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