Rest in Power, Chocolate Thunder

When I was growing up, Darryl Dawkins always captured my imagination. Arguably less skilled than some big-name players, he had so much heart and so much beautiful jive–not to mention that signature backboard-breaking slam. Consider his nicknames: Doctor Dunkenstein, Sir Slam, Chocolate Thunder. (Stevie Wonder gave him that last one.) His patter: If you ain’t groovin’, best get movin’. And then there was that outta sight Globetrotters stint. I loved the 6’11” Dunk so much that I channeled him every day on the playground (Rump Roastin’ Rosperson flyin’ at ya!), maybe because I knew how much he loved kids. Loved everybody, except for refs. And there’s so much about Dawkins’ story that didn’t get much airtime, like why he became the first high school player to go straight to the NBA in the first place. He may only have been 58 when he passed today but he covered more terrain than most will ever imagine. Rest in power, Chocolate Thunder.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy