Last week, I posted a picture on my Facebook and Instagram accounts of me and NBA Hall of Famer, Dominique Wilkins. I ran into him at a restaurant in Uptown Charlotte when I was having lunch with a friend. Soon after posting the photo, I received a phone call.
It was my friend, Mary Ann.
- Me: Hello?
- Mary Ann: I saw that picture. Who told you who he was?
- Me: What?!?!?!
- Mary Ann: Who told you who that basketball player was?
And here’s where you hear that sound like brakes screeching. What?!?!?
Who told me who he was?!?!
Mary Ann should know better, but I guess she had a momentary lapse. She has been with me when I’ve spotted celebrities. She knows I have a keen eye. She knows I’m a crazy sports fan.
Did she really think someone had to tell me who he was?!?!
My friend and I had just ordered our lunch when I saw a tall gentleman walk into the restaurant. I took one look at his face and said to my friend, “That’s Dominique Wilkins! He just walked in!”
Years ago, when I first got out of college, I was a flight attendant and lived in Atlanta. It was the late 80s/early 90s. Wilkins was a superstar for the Atlanta Hawks; he was a favored celebrity. Also known as The Human Highlight Reel, he was famous for good reason…highest scorer in NBA, slam dunk champ, All-Pro, and lots more…plus, he had played at the University of Georgia, so everyone in Atlanta loved him. He also owned a popular nightclub near my apartment, and folks were always talking about that. He was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2006.
One morning in 1990, on an early flight out of Milwaukee, the Atlanta Hawks walked onto my flight. That team had lots of great players: Wilkins, Spud Webb, Moses Malone, John Koncak… and I got to spend a couple of hours with them! For the record, they were all very gracious…Moses Malone didn’t even flinch when I stepped on his foot, and when I apologized, he smiled and said, “No problem.”
So, of course I would recognize Dominique! Even almost 30 years later, when he was wearing a beanie to shield him from the cold, and glasses because we’re all 30 years older now, I recognized him immediately. I was going to wait a little while to approach him, but my friend pretty quickly asked him if we could get photos, and he very graciously agreed. I told him I had met him before, and I went through the story from almost 30 years ago. I also told him I remembered his nightclub, and he chuckled and said several times, “Now you’re taking me waaaay back!” He was one of the sweetest celebrities I’ve ever met (and I’ve met more than a few), and he even came by our table on his way out to tell us goodbye and wish us a good afternoon. I was so excited…still am!
Who told me who he was?!?! Oh, Mary Ann…Bahahahahahaha!