A week long celebration of the greatest Atlanta Hawks player of all time, Dominique Wilkins will culminate on Friday night with various tributes being made during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wilkins has been on a week long media blitz but the festivities ramped up on Thursday with the official unveiling of the 13-foot tall statue that will eventually honor him outside Philips Arena.
My view for the event pic.twitter.com/uKbCshat4o— Peachtree Hoops (@peachtreehoops) March 5, 2015
The event got underway with a beautiful performance by the Voice of Atlanta Choir as various pics from Wilkins career showed on the monitors. Hawks CEO Steve Koonin took the stage next to welcome the crowd. Koonin spoke of Wilkins celebrated career.
Steve Koonin: "Everyday I have the privilege to work with one of my heroes"— Peachtree Hoops (@peachtreehoops) March 5, 2015
Koonin says that this statue is a gift for Wilkins for his contributions to the franchise and the city— Peachtree Hoops (@peachtreehoops) March 5, 2015
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and city councilman Ceasar Mitchell presented Wilkins with the Phoenix Award for the City of Atlanta and declared that a section of Centennial Olympic Park Drive outside Philips Arena was named "Dominique Wilkins Lane."
The stretch of Centennial Olympic Park Drive outside Philips has been named "Dominique Wilkins Lane" by City Council. pic.twitter.com/x0yDVeLRjX— #TrueLegend (@ATLHawks) March 5, 2015
A long line of guests graced the stage. Ex teammates, rivals and coaches. Everyone from Kevin Willis to Mike Fratello to Clyde Drexler and Julius Erving. All had nothing but praise for Wilkins not just as a player but as a pillar of the Atlanta community. A symbol not only of the Atlanta Hawks but of the city of Atlanta as well.
The curtain comes down:
Wilkins took a short moment to compose himself after the statue was revealed. He first praised his family and his Mother who was in attendance. One of the reoccurring things we heard coaches and ex-teammates say about Wilkins was that he came to work everyday and never asked for a day off. Wilkins touched on that in his speech saying that he never took the game for granted and that he played every night because he didn't want to let his teammates or the fans down.
As the ceremony came to a close, Wilkins reminded everyone that this statue wasn't just for him. It was also for the City of Atlanta.
Friday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers will be "Dominique Wilkins night" at Philips Arena. Wilkins will be honored with a pre-game tribute via the arena's 3D projection system. Fans attending will be presented with a Wilkins jersey style No. 21 t-shirt. The Hawks will replace the standard game program with 21,000 individually numbered Wilkins-themed magazines. Additionally the concession stands will be offering specially designed cups for the event.
Wilkins will be honored at halftime and presented with a special gift from the 2015 Hawks team before addressing the Philips Arena crowd.
More pics of the statue: