For­mer NBA dunk king Dawkins dies at age 58

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Darryl Dawkins, the for­mer NBA star whose pow­er­ful dunks earned him the nick­name “Cho­co­late Thun­der,” died Thurs­day of a heart at­tack at the age of 58, his fam­ily said.

“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,” his fam­ily said in a state­ment is­sued through the NBA.

“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.”

In 1975, Dawkins was the first player drafted out of high school into the NBA — as the fifth over­all se­lec­tion by the Philadelphia 76ers.

He went on to play 15 sea­sons with four teams: the Six­ers (1975-82), the New Jersey Nets (1982-87), the Utah Jazz (1988) and the Detroit Pis­tons (1988-89).

Dawkins shot 57.2 per­cent for his ca­reer, scor­ing 8,733 points and block­ing 1,023 shots.

His dunks — which the player dubbed with names such as “Rim Wrecker” — were so pow­er­ful that he shat­tered two back­boards in 1979.

Af­ter his NBA ca­reer, he spent two years play­ing in Italy be­fore join­ing the Har­lem Glo­be­trot­ters.

Even­tu­ally he made the tran­si­tion to coach­ing, guid­ing the Amer­i­can Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s Ne­wark Ex­press and the Penn­syl­va­nia Val­leyDawgs of the United States Bas­ket­ball League.

He most re­cently had coached at Le­high Car­bon Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

“The NBA fam­ily is heart­bro­ken by the sud­den and tragic pass­ing of Darryl Dawkins,” the league said in a state­ment.

“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.”

Dawkins’s wife Jan­ice and the rest of his fam­ily asked for pri­vacy as they mourn him.

“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,” his fam­ily said in their state­ment.

“We ask that the public please re­spect our pri­vacy as we grieve his loss.”

AP

In this April 24, 1981 file photo, Philadelphia 76ers’ Darryl Dawkins #53 mus­cles his way be­tween Bos­ton Celtics Larry Bird, left, and Robert Parish #00 to score dur­ing an NBA play­off game in Philadelphia.

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