Last week the Atlanta Hawks announced the signing forward Damien Wilkins to a contract that will last the remainder of the season.
Wilkins said he is just relieved to be in a place he is familiar with.
“I’m home,” Wilkins said. “In the past you go on the road and come back home to place that isn’t even yours. Here I come home to my family and to my kids.”
Wilkins hasn’t made a huge impact in his 22 games off the bench averaging just 2.8 points, 1.8 rebounds in 11.9 minutes per game. However, he has been a big part in helping the Hawks weather their recent injury problems and coach Larry Drew seemed more than happy about Wilkins remaining apart of the team.
“When we made the decision to bring (Wilkins) back it was definitely a relief,” Drew said. “He is already aware of what we do. He is not pretty, he is not flashy but he just works his tail off.”
Wilkins has earned the respect of his teammates and coaching staff with his hard-nosed defense. This played a big part in him landing on the team in the first place.
“He was brought on board specifically to defend some of the stronger two’s and some of the stronger three’s,” Drew said. “We need a guy with that type of size and mentality to guard those guys. When we play against teams that have players like (Danny) Granger, players like LeBron (James), players like (Paul) Pierce, we are definitely gonna put him in the game and let him chase those guys around.”
Wilkins said he is not letting the opportunity get to his head.
“Its a privilege to play in this league and play on this team,” he said. ”It’s not my right, so just getting the opportunity to do it is a blessing.”
One perk Wilkins said comes with being a Hawk is getting a chance to spend time with his uncle, Dominique Wilkins who is currently a vice president and color analyst for the team.
“I think I have spent more time with him over the past couple of months than I have my whole life,” Wilkins said. “I love and appreciate that so much so to see that the opportunity was coming to end was painful.”
After signing Wilkins to a maximum of two 10-day contracts the Hawks were forced to make a decision to either sign Wilkins to a longer contract or let him go. Both parties seem happy about the new contract and Wilkins seems like he has no intention of going anywhere else anytime soon.
“I have always dreamed of being Hawk since I was a little boy,” Wilkins said. “Having this opportunity is one of the best things to happen to me.”