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siberian khatru
11-14-2005, 03:54 PM
http://citypaper.net/articles/2005-11-10/cover2.shtml

November 10-16, 2005

The Basketball World According To Chocolate Thunder

Philly is a hoops town, and former Sixer Darryl "Chocolate Thunder" Dawkins is a beloved basketball character like none other, even if he left the local squad a year before they won the city's last championship. In his recently released book, 52 Weeks: Interviews with Champions! (Lyons Press), author Dave Hollander speaks with Dawkins, the NBA's original man-child -- first ever to move directly from high school to the NBA and first ever to shatter a backboard -- about the sport that some say Philly has long owned. As always, Chocolate Thunder doesn't fail to entertain:

You've claimed to come from Planet Lovetron but actually grew up in Orlando. When did you realize the discrepancy?

I realized the discrepancy when I was about 18 years old. When I figured out I had more funk than most people from Orlando. I had too much funk to be tied down to one hometown so I went off to Lovetron.

In 1983-84 you recorded the most personal fouls in an NBA season, 386. You also hold the next highest mark with 379 the season before. Who did you like to foul the most?

I liked to foul anybody who was coming in the lane. I wanted to let guys know it wasn't a Sunday drive. If you came in the lane I was going to hit you -- hit you repeatedly and often.

Last season, Kobe Bryant accused Karl Malone of hitting on his wife. You had some man-woman issues with The Mailman when you stayed at his house briefly while playing in Utah. Based on your experiences, how likely is it that Karl Malone would hit on his teammate's woman?

Karl Malone? [snickering] I would say "Could be possible." I would say Karl Malone at one time -- and I'm sure I'll take some heat for this but I don't care -- but if they was 8 to 80, blind, cripple or crazy, if they couldn't walk he'd drag 'em. I'm serious. At one time he thought he was God's gift to women. I believe he would hit on anything moving. That was before he was married, though.

In your book Chocolate Thunder, in the chapter titled "Scoring off the Court," you tell of many NBA superstars who had their share of the ladies. But you also said that one of the hardest working players off the court was also one of the unlikeliest -- Henry Bibby. What exactly was Henry's approach?

It was a James Brown approach: the hardest working man in show business. Henry would ask 20 in hopes that two would go with him. That was his approach, ask 20 and two will roll.

You also claim that you controlled [Bill] Walton (1977) and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] (1980, 1982) when you played them in the NBA Finals but your teammates just couldn't control the other guards and forwards. Why have NBA historians overlooked your outstanding defensive performances?

I think it was because I was so young and had such a big mouth -- as I got older my mouth got bigger. But at the ages of 19 to 22 for me to hold those guys to 19 and 20 points when they were used to getting 30 or 25, I was doing a pretty good job. Other players who weren't even respectable scorers on Portland stepped up and killed us. Anybody can look at the stat sheet and tell. Even a blind man can tell when he's walking in the rain.

Regarding the 76ers and Trailblazers 1977 NBA Finals, you said your Sixers played "black ball" and Blazers played "white ball." Please explain.

White basketball was passing the ball and whoever got it scored. They didn't care who was the leading scorer, who was the leading rebounder or whose name was in the paper as long as they won. Whereas in black basketball if one guy is making $21 million and the other guy is making $22 million, it's all about "Who's the man?" Who's name was in the paper? Who hit the game-winning shot? In black basketball you wanted some shake 'n' bake, you wanted to put on a show for the crowd. You might do a hundred thousand dollar move and finish it with a 10 ' shot. Where in white basketball all they did was come off the screen, square up and boom hit a jumper. It's a big difference.

What kind of basketball was being played in the 2004 Olympics when NBA stars got beat down by Lithuania, Greece and Puerto Rico?

Not good. That's it, just not good. Not good U.S.A. ass-kicking basketball.

Game Two in the 1977 NBA Championship, you got into a fight with Portland's Bobby Gross precipitating one of the best bench-clearing brawls in NBA history. Did you ever want to pull a Ron Artest and take it to the stands?

A bunch of times I wanted to go in the stands and get people. A fan would be talking, talking, talking and you talk back and finally he'd strike a nerve. It happened all the time with us. We'd just tell the guy, "That's it now, no more guys for your mother." He didn't have a comeback line for that.

You put the "slam" in the "slam dunk." You named your dunks: Your Mama, In Your Face Disgrace, Cover Yo Damn Head, Earthquake Breaker, Left-Handed Spine Chiller Supreme and more. How did you come up with this name: Turbo Sexophonic Delight?

It was just a swivel of the hips. You had to swivel the hips so fast that you coulda kicked in the turbo on a new car. And for the sexophonic part, you had to do a little hump -- a little boogie while you're going in there. You know, seeing Parliament without their funk is like seeing Darryl Dawkins without his dunk. I had to have it, man.

Nov. 13, 1979. Kansas City Municipal Auditorium, 38 seconds into the third quarter you shattered the backboard glass, calling it, "If you ain't grooving best get movin'/ Chocolate Thunder Flyin'/ Robinzine Cryin'/ Teeth Shakin/ Glass Breakin'/ Rump Roastin'/ Bun Toastin'/ Glass Still Flyin'/ Wham-Bam-I-Am-Jam!" You arranged for broken glass to be sold at a charity auction. How much did it go for?

Pat Williams, the GM of the Sixers, arranged that. We didn't know how much it went for but we knew it went to help some people. Pat was a good guy.

You've never had a high opinion of Isiah Thomas. In your book you call him selfish. Do you still feel that way?

Isiah is not one of my favorite people. We don't hate each other but I ain't gonna jump off the bus to put him out if he's on fire.

You've said the Nets' "Super" John Williamson was one of the most underrated players in NBA history. I agree. What should people remember about him?

They should remember that "Super" John Williamson was like a hemorrhoid. He went up your butt, did work and came right out. He couldn't be stopped. Left hand, right hand, wrong foot, right foot -- no matter. One night against us in Philadelphia, he lit us up for 45. He was going in for a meaningless layup the end of the game and Mo Cheeks sprinted from half-court and blocked his shot. Harvey Catchings said, "Why did you do that?" [Current Sixers coach] Mo Cheeks said, "Nobody is scoring 47 on me."

You have been coaching minor league basketball for several years, winning championships with the USBL Pennsylvania Valley Dawgs and IBA Winnipeg Cyclone. In order to prepare these young men for the NBA and for life, do you make Chocolate Thunder required reading?

No, not really. You know what I do? I tell them to follow this rule: Do like I say do, not like I did.

redsurfer11
11-14-2005, 04:50 PM
Had the pleasure of meeting Dawkins 3 times. He married a girl from my hometown who I was friends with. She was a Cheerleader for the NJ Nets. First time I met him, he walked over to me and introduced himself to me. He was with his wife and a large entourage. He is nothing like the persona he gives off to the media.