During his time in the NBA, Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins put together a highly successful career. Wilkins established himself as one of the game’s greatest dunkers and scorers over his playing days. Following his illustrious career, he had some issues follow him off the court as he involved a fight with a former referee.
Dominique Wilkins’ NBA career
Throughout much of his 16-year career in the NBA, Wilkins had been one of the most exciting players to watch.
His explosive athletic ability earned him the nickname “The Human Highlight Reel” for the thunderous dunks he threw down. Although he wasn’t touted for his shooting ability, Wilkins was a steady scoring option through the prime of his career that was primarily spent with the Atlanta Hawks.
He had numerous accolades to he earned nine All-Star Game selections, an All-NBA First Team selection, four All-NBA Second Team nods, two All-NBA Third Team nominations, one scoring title, and won the Slam Dunk contest twice. Wilkins is currently 13th all-time in scoring with 26,668 points that include being the Hawks‘ all-time leading scorer among other franchise marks.
Wilkins’ highly productive and well-decorated career helped earn him an induction to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and had his No. 21 jersey retired by the Hawks. Despite his NBA career ending in 1999, he made headlines in 2011 for another reason aside from his involvement with the league.
Dominique Wilkins attacked by former NBA referee
Since stepping away from the game, Wilkins has stayed in involved with the NBA. That saw him take up serving as a TV analyst for Hawks games on FSN South alongside longtime play-by-play announcer Bob Rathbun.
That position put him in a unique spot in March 2011 after calling a Hawks game as he attacked by former NBA referee Rashan S. Michel, who served in that role with the league for four years.
The incident was reportedly a dispute over money that Michel believed was owed to him over a suit that was provided to Wilkins. A video shot by a fan’s cell phone displayed Michel throwing punches at the Hall of Famer before he landed three punches on the former referee before the two were separated that left the former with a swollen right eye.
He stated later that he approached Wilkins because the former NBA star owed him around $13,000 and hadn’t paid for the suits. The incident landed Michel a night at the Fulton County Jail on simple battery charges on a $1,000 bond.
Fallout from Dominique Wilkins’ Incident
In the time that followed the incident, there was more fallout that didn’t work in Michel’s favor as his reputation took a significant hit. It was revealed that Wilkins wasn’t the only former Hawks player that he attempted to threaten to collect alleged unpaid debts as he tried the same thing with Dion Glover and Solomon Jones.
Michel had reportedly cornered Jones’ father after a game in January 2007 in hopes of getting $12,000 for the clothing he provided the Hawks forward. It led to the Jones having to file a police report on the matter. Wilkins was never charged, but Michel did sue the Hall of Famer for the incident several months later in October.
The lawsuit claimed that he didn’t provoke Wilkins and that he was the one who threw the first punch. However, nothing came about from the suit as it concluded an ugly incident.
Meanwhile, the legal troubles didn’t end there for Michel as he was involved in the college basketball scandal last year. He was able to avoid jail time as the court felt jail time would be excessive for his role in the incident. He was involved with former Auburn assistant coach Chuck Person in facilitating bribes from a financial adviser to Person in exchange for the assistant coach persuading team players to use Michel’s clothing company for suits.