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

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


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.

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.

Sixers fail to take care of business against Denver Nuggets

Sixers fail to take care of business against Denver Nuggets

It really felt like we could've gotten this one. The Denver Nuggets are hardly pushovers, but they came into this one a 7-13 team that'd lost their last three games, and even last night they seemed fairly beatable, even for a Philadelphia 76ers team still missing Robert Covington (in additional to our usual mini-roster of absentees). But Philly's energy sagged in the third quarter as Denver caught a second wind, and they spent the final frame hitting shots that the Sixers couldn't answer. Final score: Nuggets 106, 76ers 98. 

The most sobering part of the loss was that Joel Embiid finally played what would best be described as "a bad game." Not that bad, of course — even at his worst, Joel still managed 16 points and notched career-high five blocks. But he only shot 5-15 from the field, turned ball over three times, grabbed just four boards and played a large part in the sinkhole offense that the Sixers played in the late third and early fourth that ultimately cost them this one. JoJo still has trouble reading double teams and knowing when not to attack into traffic, and his frustration was extremely evident as he kept trying to do too much and paying the price for it. 

Nonetheless, even with an off Embiid night and a still-slumping Sauce — officially down to Left in the Car Overnight temperature after a night of 4 points on 1-7 shooting in 35 minutes — Philly probably still coulda gotten this one. Sergio Rodriguez appears to have swiped Nik's swag at least temporarily, with a season-high 17 points on 7-14 shooting to go with seven dimes and three steals, while Dario Saric and Ersan Ilyasova also poured in 17 and 8 each, and the Nuggets wings were largely kept quiet for two and a half quarters. But even while struggling, the Nuggets paraded their way to free-throw line — 34 FTAs for the night, including 12 for Danilo Gallinari alone — and once they caught fire late, the Sixers just couldn't keep up. 

A bummer for a team that's now lost seven in a row, and has to face the Grizzlies tonight in Memphis — their fourth game in five nights, and the first of a three-game road trip — without Embiid and also without Jahlil Okafor, out with illness. Even with the Grizz missing their own big names (no Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, Zach Randolph or Vince Carter lately) and likely suffering from fatigue of their own after a double-OT road win last night in New Orleans, the 4-17 Sixers are gonna have a tough go matching Memphis' grit and grind tonight. Anytime you feel like Supermanning in and saving the day now would be cool, Nerlens Noel. Just sayin'.

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Elton Brand is back with the Sixers, albeit not on the court.

The Sixers agreed with the former NBA forward to name Brand Player Development Consultant. In a press release, the team said Brand will be working with Sixers players in 'every facet of their on- and off-court development' while also working in the front office.

“We are extremely excited to bring Elton Brand back into the organization where he will be a valuable resource to our young and developing team," Bryan Colangelo said in the release. "Elton’s leadership and character displayed throughout his playing career as a player align perfectly with our vision, direction and culture of this basketball team, coaching staff and management group."

Brand retired during training camp after 17 NBA seasons, including five with the Sixers over two stints. The 6-foot-8 forward came out of retirement last season to provide a veteran presence for the Sixers and eventually played in 17 games when the team was snakebitten by injuries. 

He will now continue to be an influence on the Sixers' young core thanks to his new role with the basketball operations department.