Darryl DawkinsDarryl Dawkins passed away today at the age of 58.
Dawkins was a colorful, larger-than-life person, both physically and his personality. One of the greatest athletes to ever enter the NBA, he did so straight from high school.
He was the first player, to my knowledge, to shatter a backboard with a dunk in an NBA game. He destroyed a backboard, more accurately, and I still remember the Sports Illustrated article the next week mentioning that one of the players had found glass--at midcourt.
He also had one of the greatest dunks I've ever seen, backing down Bill Walton in the post, then dunking on Bill Walton while still facing away from the basket. He didn't even look, just dunked right over him. Incredible.
As befits a larger than life character, his nicknames were tremendous. Chocolate Thunder. Dr. Dunkenstein. He named his dunks (the Rim Wrecker, the Go-Rilla, the Look Out Below, the In-Your-Face Disgrace, the Cover Your Head, the Yo-Mama, the Spine-Chiller Supreme, and the Greyhound Special (coast to coast).
Thanks, Wikipedia, for the dunk names.
Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry:
At one point, Dawkins claimed to be an alien from the planet Lovetron, where he spent the off-season practicing "interplanetary funkmanship"...
There will never, ever be a better phrase than "interplanetary funkmanship." It's just not possible.
Yes, he didn't play up to his potential, but anyone who saw him play in the league remembers. He was unforgettable.