UPDATE (5:09 p.m. ET): Darryl Dawkins’ family issued the following statement on his death:
“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.”
UPDATE (5:00 p.m. ET): The Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, coroner’s office confirmed that Darryl Dawkins died Thursday morning at a hospital, according to The Associated Press. No cause of death immediately was announced and an autopsy was scheduled for Friday.
ORIGINAL POST: The NBA lost a member of its family Thursday. Former Philadelphia 76ers center Darryl Dawkins died at the age of 58.
WFMZ-TV was the first to report the news of his passing, citing a source.
Dawkins was one of the exciting players of all time. Known by his nickname, “Chocolate Thunder,” Dawkins’ powerful dunks and highlight-reel blocks made him worth the price of admission each night. If “SportsCenter” existed during his entire career from 1975 through 1989, he might have held the record for the most appearances in the “Top 10” segment.
Dawkins also was the first player drafted into the NBA straight out of high school when the 76ers selected him fifth overall in 1975. He played a key role on several great 76ers teams, including five squads that advanced to the Eastern Conference Final and three that made the NBA Finals.
He retired from the NBA in 1989 with 8,733 points, 4,432 rebounds and 1,023 blocks.
Thumbnail photo via Howard Smith/USA TODAY Sports Images
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