Not many dazzled and put on a show better than Dominique Wilkins. He was known as the "Human Highlight Film" for a reason.
The NBA Hall of Fame made his first ever appearance in South Bend Wednesday night as the featured guest in the South Bend Clinic's 100 Year Anniversary Speakers Clinic at the Century Center.
Wilkins played 12 season for the Atlanta Hawks from 1982-1994, making the all-star team nine times during that span. He averaged more than 30 points a game in two different seasons, winning the NBA scoring title in the '85-'86 season. He finished out his career playing for the Clippers, Celtics, Spurs and Magic. The Hawks retired his #21 in 2001 and he entered the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Wilkins was diagnosed a year after his playing career ended with Diabetes and the 56-year-old has now been battling the disease for 17 years. He says, while he didn't know it at the time, he's certain he had Diabetes while he was playing.
"Towards the end of my career, I had situations where after a game I would go to the restaurant and I couldn't get up. I was sweating really bad, I was shaking--I had no energy. My sugar level go to low. So I had to eat something to get that energy back and I remember my brother asking, 'are you ok big brother?' and I'm like, 'yeah i'm fine--I'm just coming down after a game' and he was like 'nooo--something's wrong.'"
Wilkins says he didn't know about the Diabetes until he visited a doctor and he didn't go because he felt something was wrong but rather because he just hadn't been there in a while. He was able to avoid noticing the Diabetes mostly because of the incredible shape he was in because of basketball.
"People often ask me, 'if you found out earlier, could you have played longer?'" Wilkins explains. "And the answer is no because when you are in great shape Diabetes is very hard to detect. I could have played three more years if I wanted to but it was time for me to retire."
Wilkins says eating healthy and working out are keys to keep Diabetes in check. And he says for any kid out there, eating healthy and staying fit is important no matter what. He also says it's very important for kids to not play video games all day long.