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Chocolate Thunder Still Talks a Big Game: Our Interview with Darryl Dawkins

Jan 16, 2009, 4:28 AM EDT

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Within ten seconds of introducing myself to Darryl Dawkins, the 6 foot 11 inch giant was telling me how he should take me out in the hallway and “tune me up.” All because my first name is Enrico.

As it turns out, the dunk king has a younger brother named Harold Enrico Dawkins who was spoiled rotten by their mother while older Darryl had to fight for attention. Darryl apparently still takes this fact out on all people named Enrico.

Anyway, I think that’s how Darryl explained the story. To be honest, I was quite flustered when Chocolate Thunder jokingly said he wanted to rough me up so I may have misheard the tale.

I had the great pleasure of chatting with the former Sixers star on Sunday afternoon at Best Buy in South Philly. Most well known for his backboard shattering antics and his penchant for nicknaming dunks, Dawkins was helping promote a joint marketing campaign for HP and Windows 7.

Coincidentally, it was thirty years to the day on Friday when Dawkins shocked the world by throwing down the amazingly named, “The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking,
Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam,
Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam.”

Hearing Dawkins simply utter the name of that dunk in person may have been the highlight of my chat with him.

During our ten minute conversation with Daryll,
Scott Eisenlohr of B/R and myself asked wide ranging questions. Despite being the first player to be drafted out of high school to the NBA, Dawkins advocates at least a year in college and thinks the NBA’s current age limit is a smart move. He’s currently coaching hoops at Lehigh Carbon Community College and stressed the importance of teaching more than just hoops to his players, “life lessons” he called them. Like learning how to talk to a lady and treat her right.

ShaqDawkinsBaby The man is as verbose as ever and answered our questions with flare and anecdotes-a-plenty. Given that Chocolate Thunder shares a similar love of nicknames as one Shaquille O’Neal, I thought it’d be interesting to hear Dawkins thoughts on the greatest big man of his era.

I also included audio snippets of Dawkins talking about the best dunkers he ever faced — hint: big ups to the Doctor — as well as his thoughts on a new nickname for Andre Iguodala. And I finished up our chat with the all important Windows 7 question we were all dying to know the answer to. [audio + video below]

“I think Shaq was wearing diapers when I was dunking the ball,” Dawkins says.

Sadly, we ran out of time and didn’t get a chance to ask what he thought about Spectrum being torn down or the current Sixers squad and Philly big men heading in seemingly different directions in Elton Brand and Marreese Speights. Darryl was about as personable as a guy could be so we wish the best for the LCCC hoops team this season.


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