Plant “Lovetron” has their king back, long-time NBA Center and greatest personality EVER, Darryl Dawkins has passed away at the age of 58.
If you don’t know much about the self-proclaimed basketball alien from “Lovetron”, then let me enlighten you. The man was a superhero of an athlete that didn’t seem to be completely human, not to mention he ate backboards for breakfast and I assume he crapped lightning bolts lined with crashing thunder.
His human construct was formulated (out of a test-tube no doubt) with the highest grade athleticism, creativity and comedy imaginable. He roamed the earth like a Marvel comic-book hero with a basketball in one hand, a detached basketball rim in his other and a cape fluttering in the constant breeze displaying his bigger-than-life prowess.
He was the first man in the NBA to NAME HIS DUNKS. He was the first man in the NBA to SHATTER a backboard during a game (twice). He was the first (and only) man in the NBA to be given a nickname by Stevie Wonder.
After being chosen with the No. 5 overall selection in the 1975 NBA draft out of high school by the Sixers, Dawkins went on to spend 14 seasons in the league with the 76ers, the New Jersey Nets, the Utah Jazz and the Detroit Pistons.
He averaged 12 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game over the course of his career. Even though he was never named to an *All-Star team (LOTS of good centers back then), he ranks seventh on the NBA’s all-time field-goal percentage list at 57.2 percent, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
*If there was fan voting back then, he would've made multiple all-star appearances. As it were, he was competing against multi-year all-stars like Artis Gilmore, Moses Malone, Robert Parish, Bill Laimbeer, Ralph Sampson and Patrick Ewing.
Dawkins entered the NBA strait out of high school, something that was amazingly uncommon at the time (1975). I always found it weirdly coincidental that he AND Moses Malone were both players that came strait out of high school to the pros, both played for the 76ers (although not teammates) around the same time during an era when that just didn’t happen AND they both played center. Malone was drafted to the ABA in 1974, then moved to the NBA in 1976.
- There’s nothing else to that thought, I just always found it weird and basketball-nerdish I guess. I’m a basketball geek, get over it.
As a kid I remember my first introduction to Darryl Dawkins during my many, many hours of watching NBA highlight videos (before youtube) while I played out real game scenarios on my nerf hoop in the basement. Thanks Mom and Dad for letting me destroy every single wall we had with footprints and body-imprints from my imaginary dunk contests on the plastic suction-cup hoop. At one point the hoop was attached to a sliding glass door that lead outside, how I didn’t kool-aid man-burst and shatter through that thing breaking every bone in my body while dunking on Patrick Ewing, I’ll NEVER understand.
My favorite video at the time was the Frank Laden and pre-hooker-biting incident-Marv Albert-hosted VHS classic, “Dazzling Dunks and Basketball Bloopers”. In it’s 1980’s corny-film brilliance somehow they managed to highlight the beauty of not only every dunk contest to date AND the league’s best in-game dunkers, but also bring me to hysterical laughter at the shenanigans of players like Dennis Rodman and personalities like Darryl Dawkins. I memorized the entire video from beginning to end. I’m serious:
Corny 80’s electronic synthesizer music leads us into Michael Jordan taking off from the freethrow line for a dunk. Roll opening graphic, “Dazzling Dunks & Basketball Bloopers”.
Marv Albert: “Welcome to the NBA’s Dazzling Dunks and Basketball Bloopers, I’m Marv Albert.”
Frank Laden: “And I’m Dick Clark.”
HA! I mean, who writes this stuff!?!?
Dawkins was the most memorable dunker of the time that wasn’t named Michael Jordan or Dominique Wilkins. He named his dunks, he spoke in what seemed to be a secret basketball language that no one could quite decipher and he absolutely tore apart backboards. What else could you possibly want? How could you NOT love this guy!?!?
RIP Darryl Dawkins, you will be missed. I hope you’re tearing apart backboards and making people laugh back on the planet Lovetron, you were truly one of the greatest characters ever in professional sports.
And just so you believe me about the Dazzling Dunks & Basketball Bloopers video:
At about minute-25 in the video, you’ll catch a glimpse of Dawkins.