Add Atlanta Hawks Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins to the growing list of assorted NBA types who think Kings rookie Ben McLemore is an emerging star. 'Nique, who is one of the most humble, engaging superstars in all of pro sports, effusively praised McLemore during halftime of the Kings-Hawks game Tuesday night.
"He's so active, and he's got a lot of bounce to his game," said Wilkins, currently a Hawks television analyst. "When he comes off those screens, he's going straight up and down with his jump shot, almost Ray Allen-ish in terms of how quickly he shoots the ball. And he moves very well without the ball. He impressed me, he impressed me. He's not bad defensively already .... this kid is going to be a very good player in this league."
And, so, while 'Nique is too gracious to complain publicly, I'll do it for him: It's still a joke that he didn't get voted into the Hall of Fame his first year on the ballot. Because he played in Atlanta, which is a football town, and occasional Braves town, he never received the acclaim he deserved. (Trust me. I was there). Given the league's global reach, that probably would be different today.
But he was a joy to watch -- a 6-foot-8 athletic, basketball marvel. He did everything - shot with range, ran the floor, defended, rebounded well for a small forward, was an underrated passer who played with limitless energy, and was a beast of a competitor. Former Hawks coach MIke Fratello keeps a photo of Dominique in his wallet to remind him of basketball greatness. And Larry Bird? We all know Bird's feelings about Magic, but chatting with him about Dominique, particularly that Game 7 Hawks-Celtics duel in the old Boston Garden? The stuff of legends.....