Born In Paris, France
He was born Jacques Dominique Wilkins in Paris, France, on January 12, 1960. The son of an officer in the U.S. Air Force, Wilkins lived in a total of 10 cities in three different countries by the time he was 15. From his father, Wilkins and his siblings learned the value of selfconfidence, perseverance, and self-discipline. His mother taught her children the importance of family, spiritual values, and old-fashioned good manners. Back in the United States in his early teens, Wilkins attended high school in Washington, North Carolina, where he excelled in both basketball and track and was named to seven All-America teams in both sports. After high school he enrolled at the University of Georgia, where he was named an All-Southeastern Conference player three years in a row. In 1982 he was named to the All-America first team by Basketball Times, Basketball Weekly, and the NBA coaches, and to the All-America second team by the Associated Press.
Ending his college basketball career after his junior year as Georgia's leading scorer of all time-averaging 21.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, Wilkins put himself into the 1982 NBA draft. He was picked by the Utah Jazz in the first round and third pick overall, but Wilkins refused to sign with the Jazz. In September 1982, Wilkins was traded by the Jazz to the Atlanta Hawks for John Drew, Freeman Williams, and cash. He enjoyed an outstanding rookie season with the Hawks, averaging 17.5 points per game. During the 1983-84 season, his scoring average improved to 21.6 points per game. Wilkins's 1984-85 season with the Hawks was
even more impressive, but the team's performance overall was lackluster. Although Wilkins finished sixth in the league in scoring with 27.4 points per game, the Hawks ended the year with a disappointing record of 34-48. Wilkins also won his first slam dunk contest.