Darryl Dawkins, also known as "Chocolate Thunder," has passed away today, according to sources. He was 58-years-old. According to Lehigh Valley's WFMZ-TV, they received this information from a local source.
After retiring from the NBA in 1989, Dawkins made his home in the Lehigh Valley. He played most of his career with the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets.
In 1975, Dawkins made NBA history when he became the first player ever drafted straight out of high school.
The 6’11”, 251 pound center was also known for his thunderous dunks. In 1979, during his time with the Sixers, Dawkins shattered two backboards on separate occasions, later earning his reputation for one of the most powerful dunkers in the league.
After retiring from the NBA, Dawkins stayed involved with basketball by coaching at the professional and college levels. According to WFMZ, he spent some time as the coach of the Lehigh Carbon Community College men’s basketball team.
Sixers CEO Scott O'Neal relased an official statement on the passing of Darryl Dawkins.
“The Sixers family is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of an absolute legend, Darryl Dawkins. We’ve lost a dear friend and an iconic figure, both on and off the court. We remember fondly not only his thunderous dunks, but more importantly his powerful presence and personality. Simply put, Darryl Dawkins was beloved—by his family, friends, former teammates and his fans all over the globe. His endearing charm, infectious smile and unparalleled sense of humor will be sorely missed. ‘Chocolate Thunder’ will always have a special place in our hearts. His family is in our thoughts and prayers.”
The family of Darryl Dawkins issues a statement on his passing.
"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. 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. His family, wife Janice, children Dara, Tabitha, Nicholas and Alexis, along with countless family, friends, and fans, all mourn his loss. More than anything Darryl accomplished in his basketball career as the inimitable 'Chocolate Thunder,' he was most proud of his role and responsibility as a husband and father. We ask that the public please respect our privacy as we grieve his loss."