© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fans Remember 'Chocolate Thunder,' His Backboard-Breaking Dunk In Kansas City


Fans of the NBA are mourning the death of Darryl Dawkins, the man known to many fans (and himself) as 'Chocolate Thunder.' Dawkins played 14 seasons in the NBA in the 1970s and 1980s, playing for Philadelphia, New Jersey, Utah and Detroit.

He died Thursday of an apparent heart attack in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He was 58.

Though some think Dawkins never quite lived up to the hype of being the first player to go directly from high school to the pros, he is still remembered fondly for his dunks that were so ferocious they routinely broke the glass of the backboards. (In fact, after Dawkins began doing this, the NBA started producing breakaway rims.)

One small detail that has been noted in several remembrances of Dawkins is the fact that his first backboard-breaking dunk took place in a 1979 game at Municipal Auditorium against the Kansas City Kings.

According to The New York Times, Dawkins routinely named his dunks and called this rim-breaker in Kansas City "The-Chocolate-Thunder-Ain't-Playin', Get-Out-Of-the-Wayin', Backboard-Swayin', Game-Delayin' Super Spike." 

Kyle Palmer is the editor of the Shawnee Mission Post, a digital news outlet serving Northeast Johnson County, Kansas. He previously served as KCUR's news director and morning newscaster.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.