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Monday, December 24, 2012
Dominique Wilkins on shoes, today's game

By Lynn Hoppes

The Reebok pump
On Christmas Eve, Reebok is re-releasing these signature shoes of Dominique Wilkins.
NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins loves the Christmas Day schedule of games highlighted by the New York Knicks at the Los Angeles Lakers at 3 p.m. ET and Oklahoma City at Miami at 5:30, both on ABC.

That's because the "Human Highlight Film" loves the rivalries and thinks the NBA needs more of them.

"The game today has changed so much. There isn't much parity. Some good teams and some very bad teams," Wilkins said. "I wouldn't have traded my playing days for this. In the 1980s, the competition level was a monster."

Dominique Wilkins and The Reebok Pump
NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins shows off the Reebook pump shoe in this 1991 print ad.
To celebrate those years and Wilkins' style, Reebok is rereleasing his Pump Twilight Zone signature shoe, priced at about $120, today.

"I was excited when they wanted to bring back the shoe," said Wilkins, who played 19 seasons in the NBA, mostly with the Atlanta Hawks. "Hey, I need a couple of pairs myself. I want to wear them again!"

Wilkins was a nine-time NBA All-Star, averaged about 25 points a game and was the NBA slam dunk champion twice. His dunking style prompted Reebok to sign him to a promotional deal, and Wilkins started making commercials to rival Nike and Converse.

"I spent more time marketing the shoe instead of helping develop the shoe. I gave a true assessment on how well it was working," Wilkins said. "It worked so well that I didn't have to change shoes every game. The pump was the best shoe I ever wore."

And if Wilkins played in today's game, he knows he could still score at will.

"Today's game is not as physical as we were back then. I could play both forward positions and guard," he said. "Oh, but you can't really duplicate things from a financial standpoint. I would think every player would love to be in that situation!"