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2008-09 News and Features

Darryl Dawkins Breaks Two Backboards in One Season

By: Elise Bryers

The first player to be drafted into the NBA directly from high school, Darryl Dawkins began his professional basketball career in 1975 for the Philadelphia Sixers. At 6’10” and 260 lbs., the self-proclaimed "Chocolate Thunder", set himself apart from the rest of the league with his entertaining play consisting of slam-dunks and intensive athletic performances. Darryl Dawkins made dunk history by shattering the backboard and tearing down the rim in the Spectrum against the San Antonio Spurs.

Though he claimed to hail from the "Planet Lovetron", Darryl Dawkins was born and raised in Orlando, Florida, where he was the star of his High School basketball team. "He was probably the best high school basketball player and one of the best people I’ve ever met," said his high school coach, Fred Pennington. After graduating from high school, Dawkins decided to go straight to the NBA rather than attend college. He entered the draft and was chosen fifth overall by the Sixers. Though he had made the team, Dawkins did not see much court time due to his need to develop as a player.

After two seasons, Darryl started to see some playing time in his 1977-78 season. During this season, he played alongside NBA legends Julius Erving, Doug Collins, and World B. Free. He averaged 25 minutes per game, scoring 11 points and ripping 7 rebounds each time he hit the hardwood. Not only was "Chocolate Thunder" becoming a good player, he was also about to make NBA history.

It was in his third season with the Sixers when Darryl started to become known for his dynamic slam-dunks and aggressive play. His dunks became such a central part of his game that he began to name them. Names included the "In-Your-Face Disgrace", "Look Out Below", "Rim-Wrecker", "Go-Rilla", "Spine Chiller Supreme", "Cover Your Head", "Yo Mama" and, (his favorite), the "Get-Out-of-the-Waying, Backboard-Swaying, Game-Delaying, If-You-Ain’t-Grooving-You-Best-Get-Moving Dunk".

During a game against the Kansas City Kings in November 1979, Dawkins went in for a dunk against Bill Robizine. He made history by shattering the backboard. "The first thing I was thinking was, 'Man I got to get out of here. All this glass is coming down.' I was like, feet don’t fail me now," exclaimed Dawkins. True to his unique practice, he named this dunk, "The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam."

No more than a month after this dunk, he did it again in the Spectrum against the San Antonio Spurs on December 5, 1979. The only difference was this time, he did even more damage. Not only did he break the backboard, but he pulled the rim down as well, bolts and all. When recounting the dunk, Darryl remembered, "I moved in, attacked the basket, and BOOM! The whole rim came down."

Darryl Dawkins is the only player in the NBA to break two backboards in a month in one season. The NBA Commissioner at the time Larry O’Brien was not nearly as impressed as the Philadelphia fans. He called Dawkins into his office and scolded him, telling him that every time he broke a backboard, he owed the league $5,000

Today, basketball rims are made to be collapsible and backboards are made of shatterproof materials in order to protect the backboard and players from breakage. This basket construction was changed because of "Dr. Dunk", Darryl Dawkins

Tickets for the Sixers Remember the Spectrum game start as low as $19.67 (the year the Spectrum opened) and are on sale now exclusively through ComcastTIX at 1-800-298-4200, ComcastTIX.com or in person at the Wachovia Complex box office.

Click here to purchase tickets.