Damien Wilkins, son of veteran Gerald Wilkins and nephew of the iconic Dominique Wilkins, entered the NBA hoping to establish his own legacy, separate from his family.
Most recently of the Indiana Pacers, the younger Wilkins had a productive NBA career.
It may not have been enough to separate him from his father or uncle, but Wilkins’ career is definitely worth revisiting.
Damien Wilkins had a lengthy NBA career
Undrafted in 2004, Damien Wilkins caught on with the Seattle SuperSonics as an undrafted free agent.
Wilkins impressed in limited action that year, averaging 6.3 points and 2.3 rebounds across 18 minutes in 29 games and seven starts.
Over the next two years, Wilkins played in all of Seattle’s 164 games (and started 43), averaging 7.7 rebounds, 2.6 rebounds, and a steal per night. Kevin Durant’s arrival in 2007 didn’t keep Wilkins from averaging career-highs in points (9.2) and rebounds (3.2).
Wilkins followed the team to Oklahoma City Thunder before spending the next few years bouncing around Minnesota, Atlanta, Detroit, and Philadelphia.
Wilkins notably started 31 games in 2009-10, his first and only season with the Timberwolves. He contributed 5.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per night that season and played in 80 of the team’s 82 games.
His uncle, Dominique Wilkins, is a basketball icon
As his last name may have tipped people off, Damien Wilkins is related to basketball royalty from the 1980s and 1990s.
His father, Gerald Wilkins, starred for the New York Knicks and averaged 14.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per night in seven seasons there.
The father played 13 total NBA seasons, averaging 13 points, 2.9 rebounds, and three assists per night.
Gerald’s brother and Damien’s uncle, Dominique Wilkins, is among the greatest dunkers in NBA history. A nine-time All-Star, Dominique averaged 24.8 points and 6.7 rebounds in 15 NBA seasons.
Dominique spent most of his career in Atlanta, averaging 26.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per night in 12 seasons with the Hawks.
The elite dunker averaged 25.4 points in 56 career playoff games.
Wilkins earned seven All-NBA selections and entered the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Damien Wilkins had an epic comeback with the Pacers
Like his uncle, Damien Wilkins spent a few years playing basketball overseas.
Wilkins played everywhere from Beijing to Puerto Rico to Venezuela — with a D-League stint mixed in here and there — before returning to the NBA in 2017.
Wilkins averaged 1.7 points and 0.8 rebounds across eight minutes per night in 19 games. He drew the start in one of those games.
Indiana waived Wilkins in January 2018, and he closed that season playing in the G League.
Damien Wilkins didn’t do enough to separate himself from his father or uncle in the mainstream, but that was always going to be a very challenging task.
To play 10 total NBA seasons is an accomplishment of his own, and it’s one that Wilkins should always celebrate.