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All-Star 2020: Dominique Wilkins remembers 1988 Dunk Contest duel with Michael Jordan

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Saturday 15 February 2020 06:25, UK

Dominque Wilkins and Michael Jordan pictured during their iconic Dunk Contest duel at the 1988 All-Star Weekend 2:45
Dominique Wilkins recalls his iconic duel with Michael Jordan at the 1988 All-Star Dunk Contest

NBA icon Dominique Wilkins remembers his 1988 All-Star Dunk Contest duel with Michael Jordan.

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Wilkins' famous head to head with the six-time NBA champion in Chicago forms part of Jordan's rich All-Star legacy, one that continues this weekend as the team he owns, the Charlotte Hornets, host the 2019 All-Star festivities.

Michael Jordan takes flight at the 1988 All-Star Dunk Contest in Chicago 3:39
Relive every spectacular slam as Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins duel at 1988 Slam Dunk Contest in Chicago

Wilkins, known as the 'Human Highlight Reel', led going into the final round before Jordan completed his trio of slams with his iconic free-throw line dunk that scored a perfect 50 and earned 'His Airness' a second straight Dunk Contest triumph.

Dominique Wilkins jam the ball home in the 1988 All-Star Slam Dunk Contest
Image: Wilkins jams the ball home in the 1988 All-Star Slam Dunk Contest

Three decades later Wilkins recalls: "I think it was the greatest Dunk Contest ever because you had two great players competing. I wanted to know who the best was. The energy in that place on that night was unbelievable.

"Dunking was a part of my game that I cherished and going against a guy with the same type of ability like Michael Jordan... he was electrifying.

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"We didn't practice those dunks before the contest. Michael would tell you the same. It was spur of the moment. We thought up those dunks as the contest was going on.

"It was a great rivalry. 'MJ' and I have a great deal of respect for another. But my plan was to win. 'MJ' was coming to win too so I had to bring my A-game. I came with an A-plus game but it still didn't work!

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Michael Jordan takes flight in the 1987 Slam Dunk Contest 31:14
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"I saved my best dunk, a two-handed windmill, for last. The dunk before that I got a 50 so I knew I was going to get a 50 on the last one."

Michael Jordan throws down a monster jam in the 1988 Slam Dunk Contest 2:30
The Starters debate which of Michael Jordan's famous All-Star free-throw line dunks was the most memorable

Wilkins was awarded a score of 45 for his final dunk and remembers: "I thought, 'OK, something's not right here'."

Jordan's free-throw line dunk and the perfect 50 it was awarded sealed victory for the Chicago Bulls star on his home court.

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"I thought I won. He thought he won. The fans thought he won more than I did," says Wilkins. "But we both put on an amazing show and I was not disappointed. It was a close contest and it could have gone either way. The fans got their money's worth. It was the best of all time. It was a flat-out show."

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