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Matt Harpring Ended Dominique Wilkins’ Career

December 22, 2013


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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