It shouldn’t be a surprise that Damien Wilkins, Philadelphia 76ers guard/forward, would turn out to be an NBA player. All you have to do is check his roots and you would know why. Wilkins is the son of 13-year NBA veteran Gerald Wilkins and the nephew of Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins.
Basketball has been a big part of his family for a long time. Wilkins has learned the game from the best. In the Sixers notes, he lists his dad as the individual who has been a big influence on his life.
“Dad has been very influential not only on my career, but on my life,” Wilkins said. “He’s a father. He’s also a coach. He always keeps me encouraged. That’s one thing about him, he taught the importance of professionalism and appreciating the opportunity no matter what the circumstances may be, just remain appreciative that I’m here and have an opportunity every night to do something special. And that’s what he always taught me.
“That’s what I always go by. I may not play one game. I may play the next game. I may play five minutes the next game. I may play 20 minutes the following game. But I have a chance to come out and do something exciting. That’s what gets me up to come to the gym every game.”
Wilkins has been a solid reserve for the Sixers. He averages just 6.8 minutes a game. However, he had chance to log 18 minutes in Tuesday night’s 105-88 loss to Minnesota. He scored four points, grabbed two rebounds and handed out two assists. The 6-foot-6, 225-pounder, plays as hard as he can for whenever he steps on the floor.
Wilkins, 32, is really happy to be where he is today. He came into the NBA in 2004 as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Georgia. Nothing was given to him. He had to earn his stripes. He started his career with the then Seattle SuperSonics. He played four seasons in Seattle and one in Oklahoma City. Then, he bounced from Minnesota to Atlanta and Detroit before landing with the Sixers. This is his ninth season in the league.
“I know what it means to fight,” Wilkins said. “I came into this league undrafted and had to make a team. And here I am in my ninth season and who would have thought? Well, I thought and that’s all that mattered. I take things one day at a time. I’m very thankful to be here.”
Wilkins also credits Dominique for a part of his success. He enjoyed watching his spectacular dunks.
“He was a great player,” he said. “He’s a Hall of Famer. The things he did on the basketball court were unbelievable. I sit back and watch some of the old tapes. He was amazing.”