NBA great Darryl "Chocolate Thunder" Dawkins, who broke backboards with earth-shattering dunks that he gave colorful names to, has died of a heart attack. He was 58.
An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.
"It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our beloved husband and father, Darryl Dawkins, who succumbed today to a heart attack," Dawkins's family said in a statement Thursday to ESPN. "Darryl touched the hearts and spirits of so many with his big smile and personality, ferocious dunks, but more than anything, his huge, loving heart."
Dawkins spent parts of 14 seasons in the NBA, most known for his days with the Philadelphia 76ers. He also played with New Jersey, Utah and Detroit, averaging 12 points and 6.1 rebounds per game over his career with a 57.2 field goal percentage (seventh-best in NBA history). He was also the first high school player to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, selected fifth by the 76ers in 1975.
He even had a stint with the Harlem Globetrotters.
But more than anything,the forward was known for his dunks, naming them everything from the "Look Out Below" to the "Yo-Mama" and the "Rim Wrecker," and claiming all of them were from "Planet Lovetron."
He also claimed his nickname was given to him by Stevie Wonder.
"People don't want to believe it. A guy who never saw me gave me the name Chocolate Thunder," Dawkins said in a 2012 interview.
Upon learning of his passing, many players, both retired and present, took to their social media outlets to comment about Dawkins.
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