Former New Jersey Nets player Darryl Dawkins died of a heart attack Thursday morning at a Pennsylvania hospital, his family said in a statement. Darryl Dawkins is a legend, who had an incredible style of dunking the basketball that changed the rules of the game and paved the way for breakaway rims.
Known as “Chocolate Thunder” and celebrated for shattering backboards with his aggressive dunks, the 6-foot-11 Dawkins spent parts of 14 seasons in the NBA with Philadelphia, New Jersey, Utah and Detroit. Dawkins averaged 12 points and 6.1 rebounds in 726 career regular-season games. The Philadelphia 76ers selected Dawkins with the fifth overall pick and he went on to play with the team for seven seasons before moving to the New Jersey Nets for five years.
“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,” his family said in a statement released by the NBA.
“A great man, entertainer, athlete and ferocious dunker,” former NBA guard Kevin Johnson wrote on Twitter. “He will be missed but not forgotten.”
“You were one of my favorite players of all time,” Houston center Dwight Howard posted Thursday on his Instagram account. “You were very inspirational to a lot of young players. Thank u for the long talks and great memories. I can’t believe that you’re gone. But you are in a better place. You were the originator of the dunk.”
RIP to Darryl Dawkins aka "Chocolate Thunder" – a great man, entertainer, athlete and ferocious dunker. He will be missed but not forgotten.
— Kevin Johnson (@KJ_MayorJohnson) August 27, 2015
He is survived by his wife Janice and children Dara, Tabitha, Nicholas and Alexis.