Darryl Dawkins, whose backboard-shattering dunks earned him the moniker “Chocolate Thunder” and helped pave the way for breakaway rims, has died. He was 58. The Lehigh County, Pennsylvania coroner’s office said Dawkins died Thursday morning at a hospital. No cause of death was immediately announced and an autopsy was scheduled for Friday.
Dawkins spent parts of 14 seasons in the NBA with Philadelphia, New Jersey, Utah and Detroit. He averaged 12 points and 6.1 rebounds in 726 career regular-season games. He was selected No. 5 in the 1975 NBA draft by the 76ers. “A great man, entertainer, athlete and ferocious dunker,” former NBA guard Kevin Johnson wrote on Twitter in tribute to Dawkins. “He will be missed but not forgotten.”