Affectionately known as ‘Chocolate Thunder,’ (a name given by Grammy winner Stevie Wonder who specially went to meet Darryl) Ex-NBA star player Darryl Dawkins, known throughout the NBA community for his power-packed slam dunks, has passed away at the age of 58. The cause of the death has been specified as heart attack.
When the news broke with his family releasing a statement saying, “It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our beloved husband and father, Darryl Dawkins, who succumbed today to a heart attack. Darryl touched the hearts and spirits of so many with his big smile and personality, ferocious dunks, but more than anything, his huge, loving heart. His family, wife Janice, children Dara, Tabitha, Nicholas and Alexis, along with countless family, friends, and fans, all mourn his loss. More than anything Darryl accomplished in his basketball career as the inimitable ‘Chocolate Thunder,’ he was most proud of his role and responsibility as a husband and father,” the whole sports community went into mourning for a true dunking legend.
During his bright NBA career spanning 14 seasons, Dawkins has played with Philadelphia, New Jersey, Utah and Detroit averaging 12 points and 6.1 rebounds in 726 career regular-season games. He was one of the few players to be selected as a draft by the NBA right after college; he was chosen as No. 5 in the 1975 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He became famous for two slam dunks, against Kansas City and San Antonio in 1979-80, where the force of his dunk shattered the backboard! Ever since then, the NBA framed new rules for breakaway rims and shatter-proof backboards. He has even played overseas in the Italian league and also in the Continental Basketball Association and the International Basketball Association.
Talking about the sudden passing of a star, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, “The NBA family is heartbroken by the sudden and tragic passing of Darryl Dawkins. We will always remember Darryl for his incredible talent, his infectious enthusiasm and his boundless generosity. He played the game with passion, integrity and joy, never forgetting how great an influence he had on his legions of fans, young and old.”