Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins, from the Planet Lovetron, died today ….. and BobLee has a special “Forrest Gump / I was There” Story.
It was November 1979…. in Kansas City’s old Municipal Auditorium (where UNC beat Wilt in 1957). The KC Kings were playing Dawkins’ 76ers. I was at the game to see Phil Ford who was a King then. His King teammates were Otis Birdsong, Sam Lacey, Scott Wedman and, of course, Bill Robinzine.
The Kings’ regular home was Kemper Arena but Kemper’s roof had collapsed after a heavy snow fall so they were playing in the old downtown “barn”.
I saw THE DUNK …. “…. Thunder Flyin’… Robinzine cryin’….” that shattered the backboard. It was, I believe, the first thunder dunk that Dawkins’ actually “named”.
Larry Staverman was the Kings’ Asst GM and all-around “get-it-done” guy. I can still see Larry running around trying to replace the shattered goal and bring in a new one. “Shattering glass backboards” was a very rare occurrence back then. It sounded like a high-powered rifle had gone off …. the arena went stone quiet as no one had ever seen such a sight.
Here’s how Wikipedia describes it…..
In a game against the Kansas City Kings at Kemper Arena on November 13, 1979, Dawkins threw down such a massive dunk that the backboard shattered, sending the Kings’ Bill Robinzine ducking. Three weeks later he did it again, this time at home against the San Antonio Spurs at the Spectrum. A few days after that the NBA ruled that breaking a backboard was an offense that would result in a fine and suspension.
Dawkins named the first backboard-breaking dunk “The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam.”
Wiki is, of course, INCORRECT as the game was indeed in Municipal Auditorium, not Kemper. Who you gonna trust …. Wikipedia or BobLee. I WAS THERE! 🙂
Legendary Dunker Dawkins Dead at 58.
Darryl Dawkins, whose backboard-shattering dunks earned him the moniker “Chocolate Thunder” and helped pave the way for breakaway
rims, has died. He was 58.
He was selected No. 5 in the 1975 NBA draft by the 76ers. Dawkins was the first high school player to be taken in the first round of the draft.
Dawkins was as revered off the court as he was on it. He remained enormously popular after his playing days were done, even during his stint as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters.
He would name his dunks — the “Look Out Below,” the “Yo-Mama” and the “Rim Wrecker” among them — and often boasted that he hailed from the “Planet Lovetron.”
Injuries plagued him late in his NBA career, and he went overseas for several years to play, primarily in the Italian league.
The Associated Press and ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.