Philadelphia 76ers legend Darryl ‘Chocolate Thunder’ Dawkins passed away on Thursday at the age of 58, according to a source close with his family. Dawkins is survived by his wife, Janice, and their three children.
SAD NEWS: Darryl Dawkins (1957-2015) One of the NBA's great dunkers, entertainers & characters passed away (age: 58). pic.twitter.com/ngx6QgOHSb
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) August 27, 2015
Not only was Dawkins known as the first player in NBA history to come straight from high school, he was also one of the game’s greatest power dunkers, as well as entertainers.
“Chocolate Thunder” played 14 NBA seasons with the 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, and Detroit Pistons from 1975 to 1989. He then played professionally overseas until 1994, before joining the Harlem Globetrotters for a year. While he was never on an All-Star team, his presence has been visible around the NBA since his retirement, as he’s been a judge in the slam dunk contest many times.
Yet, he’ll forever be remembered for dunking with so much force that he regularly shattered backboards.
Dawkins family released a statement, revealing that Darryl died of a heart attack:
‘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. We ask that the public please respect our privacy as we grieve his loss.’