(January 11, 1957 – August 27, 2015)

Darryl Dawkins was an American professional basketball player, most noted for his days with the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets, although he also played briefly for the Detroit Pistons and Utah Jazz late in his career. His nickname, “Chocolate Thunder”, was bestowed upon him by Stevie Wonder. He was known for his powerful dunks, which notably led to the NBA adopting breakaway rims due to him shattering the backboard on two occasions in 1979.

Dawkins’ autobiography Chocolate Thunder: The Uncensored Life and Times of Darryl Dawkins (co-authored with Charley Rosen)[6] chronicles his on- and off-the-court life as an NBA star. In the book, Dawkins chronicles some of the racism he encountered during his NBA career, playing alongside 76ers superstar Julius Erving, and his off-the-court experiences with drugs, partying and women.

In September 1986, Dawkins eloped with Kelly Barnes of Trenton, New Jersey.[7] The following autumn, the two were planning to divorce when she committed suicide on 1 November 1987 at her parents’ home in New Jersey; Darryl was in Utah with his team at the time.[7] In 1988, Dawkins married a former Nets cheerleader, Robbin Thornton. They divorced after 10 years.[8] Dawkins later remarried. He and his wife Janice have three children: Nick, Alexis, and Tabitha, a daughter from Janice’s previous marriage[9] who has Down syndrome.[8]

Dawkins appears in NBA Ballers and the NBA 2K video games as a reserve member of the 1980s Legends East Team. In 1999, Saturday Night Live named Dawkins the “Man of the Millennium” in a Weekend Update sketch.[10] Dawkins died on August 27, 2015, at the age of 58