• Position: C
• Height: 6' 11''
• Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons
• 10 playoff appearances
• Averaged double figures in scoring for 9 straight years
Long before Kobe and LeBron made the jump from High School to the NBA, before Shaq broke rims and Dennis Rodman wore dresses, there was a man-child who went by “Chocolate Thunder” who understood the game and business of basketball.
Darryl Dawkins, born January 11, 1957, in Orlando, Florida, burst onto the national scene in 1975 when he became the first player to make the transition directly from high school to the NBA. He attended Maynard Evans High School in Orlando, where, in his senior year, he led his team to the Florida State Championship. That summer, Dawkins chose to renounce his college eligibility and applied for the 1975 NBA Draft as a hardship candidate.
Drafted 5th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, Dawkins played limited minutes in his first two seasons before becoming a solid presence in the paint in 1977. He then proceeded to score in double figures for the next nine straight seasons. During the 1979-80 season, “Chocolate Thunder”, a nickname alluding to his vivacious dunks, solidified his cult hero status after two backboard shattering dunks against the Kansas City Kings and the San Antonio Spurs. Dawkins’ powerful moves prompted the league to create “breakaway rims” that would sustain the power of players like him. Dawkins was loved by fans for his bulldozing style on the court and his imaginative names for dunks (i.e. “Dunk You Very Much” and “Turbo Sexophonic Delight”).
Following his 14 seasons in the NBA, Dawkins had a brief stint with the Harlem Globetrotters. He has been able to keep his love affair with basketball going as a coach of the ABA’s Newark Express and Winnipeg Cyclones, as well as the USBL’s Pennsylvania ValleyDawgs. In 2003, Dawkins released his autobiography titled Chocolate Thunder: The Uncensored Life and Times of Darryl Dawkins. He resides in Allentown, PA and was the face of the NBA Nation Tour.