Darryl ‘Chocolate Thunder’ Dawkins passed away two years ago (Aug. 27, 2015) at the age of 58. He was one of the game’s most spectacular dunkers, and greatest characters.
In 1975 Dawkins was the first person to enter the NBA from high school when he was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the No. 5 overall pick.
An incredible athletic presence, at 6-foo-t 11, 270 pounds, Dawkins became known for his physical play and ferocious, backboard shattering, dunks. During the 1979-80 season he shattered the backboard in games on two occasions.
Although he never reached superstar status, Dawkins was a solid big man. He played 15 years with four teams, the Sixers, New Jersey Nets, Detroit Pistons, and Utah Jazz. His career average was 12 points per game.
His athletic style of play is very similar to Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons today. Dawkins was a great teammate, and funnyman.
He claimed to be born on the planet Lovetron, and had names for his dunks like the: “The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Glass-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Babies-Crying, Glass-Still-Flying, Cats-Crying, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Thank You-Wham-Bam-I-Am-Jam.”
And if you ever wondered how he got his nickname ‘Chocolate Thunder’, you can credit music icon Stevie Wonder.
“Stevie Wonder used to come the ball games and they would have a guy sitting with him,” Dawkins told Dime Magazine in 2011. “And the guy would be holding on to his arm, telling him what’s going on, and he would say, “Hey, the big chocolate guy just put down a thunder dunk. The chocolate guy with another monster dunk.” And Stevie Wonder actually gave me the nickname Chocolate Thunder. So a guy who never saw me can give me that name. I think I can wear that well. I don’t even know if he remembers, it’s been so long, but I’ll keep that.”
Here is a video of Dawkins’ top 20 dunks, including his two backboard breakers.