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Matt Harpring Ended Dominique Wilkins’ Career

December 22, 2013
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dominique

If you were watching the Jazz broadcast of the game against the Hawks, you might have heard Matt Harpring talking about (former Jazz draft pick) Dominique Wilkins (now a Hawks announcer) at the beginning of the fourth quarter:

“I was a teammate of Dominique my rookie year in Orlando. He was a veteran on the team. Got to know him pretty well. He didn’t play much that year, but it was kind of weird for me…To watch him as I grew up and then all of a sudden I’m on the same team with him and playing in front of him.”

I joked on Twitter that Matt Harpring was Wilkins’ “young hotshot,” but as it turns out, he actually was.

Big ups to @Slappfisk for the link to this Open Court video, in which panelists were asked, “Was there a point in basketball you thought about quitting?”

Wilkins’ answer:

“It was in Orlando, at the end of my career. And I was leading the league in points per minute, and starting, even playing 18 points a game as a starter.

I remember Chuck Daly–bless his soul, I love Chuck Daly–and he came to me and said, ‘Nique, you know, I think we’re gonna start Matt Harpring ’cause we need more scoring.’

I was like, ‘Huh?’ I said, ‘Chuck, I’m leading the league in points per minute, and you need more scoring?’

I said, ‘Chuck, you know, I’ve been in the league a long time. And so, I can, I’m a grown, I’m a big man. I’m a big boy. So you can tell me. If you want to start this kid, it’s okay, I have no problem. But don’t insult my intelligence.’

It was that moment I said, ‘You know what? It’s time to quit.’ … It was, at that point, the game started to change a little bit. It was more about pacifying and taking care of these young kids, more than winning. And I didn’t want any part of that.”

For the record, Wilkins still sounded very annoyed (bitter, somewhat agitated, etc.) about the whole thing.

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