Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Battle for the 1985-1986 NBA Scoring Title As Only I'll Remember It

Dominique Wilkins (Atlanta Hawks)
The 1985-1986 NBA season saw one of the best battles for a scoring title.  Dominique Wilkins, in his fourth year in the league, beat out fellow hall of famers Adrian Dantley and AlexEnglish for the only scoring title of his career.  This is something that stands out in my fandom for two reasons.  First, Nique is my all-time favorite basketball player.  Second I was a junior in high school and in my English class I had to write in a journal every morning.  The instructor, a basketball coach, wasn’t picky about what we wrote about but we had to write something in coherent English.  I wrote every day for two weeks about the battle for the scoring title.  My teacher liked what I wrote and said he could tell I was a big fan.  

To the battle itself.  During the last week of the season the players were within a point of each other.  It was definitely something that could go one way or another depending on an injury or particularly bad or good game.  Dominique stepped up and average 39 points per game over his last six games while Dantley and English averaged 32 and 29 over the same timeframe respectively.   This included a 57 point effort against the New Jersey Nets.  While this is a blip in NBA history, it was huge to me.  I was at my peak of NBA fandom as was the NBA itself.  Boston won the championship that year while Larry Bird won MVP.  I was 17 and had started watching in 1979 at the pivotal time in league history that ushered in Magic Johnson  and then Larry Bird.  Basketball was it to me in the eighties. 

For some reason this memory has always stuck with me.  I lived in a small town in New Mexico and I can’t remember exactly how I got all my information.  It would have had to have been via ESPN or maybe the USA Today.  The other option was reading the local paper the next day but I don’t remember them running box scores though they might have had small write-ups of each game.  No matter, it was exciting to me.  I have always loved Dantley and English as well and to have three great scorers battling it out in such a manner was fun.  You just never know what memories will stick out when you think back to different times in your life of fandom.   
Adrian Dantley (Utah Jazz)

Alex English (Denver Nuggets)

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