Dominique Wilkins is an NBA Hall of Famer and the most celebrated player in Atlanta Hawks history. Wilkins currently serves as the Hawks’ Vice President of Basketball and Special Advisor to the CEO. He also works tirelessly to raise awareness for the disease he’s battling, diabetes. We spoke with Wilkins about health management in our community for rolling out’s Health IQ.
You can’t be afraid to tell the physician when you’re having issues. A lot of times as African American men, our ego gets involved and it comes into play. It kind of takes over, you have a problem, but you ignore the problem by ignoring the symptoms. We have to realize when we’re sick, or we’re going through certain things, physically, to tell the physician exactly what your body is going through. That way you started to build a trusting relationship with your physicians. And physicians have to be willing to take an active part themselves. It’s not a one-way street. This is a two-way street.
You’ve had some of your own health challenges. What gave you the courage to be open about them?
My father died from Type 1 diabetes, and my grandfather died from diabetes. I’m the only one out of eight brothers and sisters with diabetes. So it’s been a part of my family for a very long time. Talking about diabetes and really educating people on exercise medication, and things of that nature, was something that was kind of a calling for me. I think the only way you get people to move is by being honest and telling people about some of the issues that you’re dealing with. People will listen to people that they can relate to you.
What would you suggest people do as a daily health regimen?
The key is this to get yourself physically moving, and drink a lot of water. I drink a gallon of water a day, you know, to just keep the system pure and flush your body at times. As a diabetic, there are three things that work for me: diet, exercise, and medication. Those three components working together keeps me at the levels I want to be.
Why was it important for you to partner with WellStar?
We had the same mission to help people help themselves. It’s all about giving back. They’re a great hospital chain that’s been there for a lot of people. I’ve been there several times doing stuff, not just with diabetes, but cancer, hypertension, asthma, all these different things that I’ve been connected to in one way or another in my own family. WellStar has done a great job of connecting with the community.