What a legend. Former NBA star Darryl Dawkins has died at the age of 58, family members confirmed to TMZ on Thursday, Aug. 27. According to his family, Dawkins died from a heart attack.
Dawkins was best known for shattering two backboards with slam dunks in 1979. He played for 15 seasons in the NBA, most notably with the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets.
The Orlando, Fla., native began his athletic career in the mid-1970s after graduating from Maynard Evans High School. He made his debut on the 76ers in 1975 and stayed with the team until 1982, then played with the Nets from 1982 to 1987, briefly joined the Utah Jazz in 1987, and later went to the Detroit Pistons for two seasons.
In addition, Dawkins played internationally on Italy's Auxilium Torino, Olimpia Philips Milano, and Libertas Forli teams. In 1994, he joined the Harlem Globetrotters for two years.
Dawkins was a popular player, and even had a fan in Stevie Wonder. The singer nicknamed Dawkins "Chocolate Thunder" during the athlete's heyday.
More recently, Dawkins was giving back to his community. According to WFMZ-TV, he was the former head coach of the Lehigh Carbon Community College basketball team.
Dawkins is survived by his third wife, Janice, and their children Nick, Alexis, and Tabitha. (Tabitha is Janice's daughter from a previous relationship.) Dawkins' first wife, Kelly Barnes, committed suicide one year into their marriage in 1987. He divorced Nets cheerleader Robbin Thornton in 1998 after 10 years of marriage.
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