Darryl Dawkins was once summoned in the Philadelphia 76ers’ locker room to come meet a celebrity who wanted to meet the man known for dunking with backboard-breaking force.
The guest was Grammy Award winner Stevie Wonder. The entertainer is blind, yet even he could tell there was something very unique about Dawkins’ game.
“A guy who never saw me,” a beaming Dawkins said in a 2011 televised interview, “gave me the name ‘Chocolate Thunder.’”
The name stuck, and the rim-wrecking, glass-shattering dunks remain unforgettable — as will the giant of a man who changed the game with them. Dawkins died Thursday at a hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, according to the Lehigh County coroner’s office. He was 58, and even though officials said an autopsy would be performed on Friday his family released a statement saying the cause of death was a heart attack.