Darryl Dawkins

As the basketball world mourns the passing of Darryl Dawkins, the tributes are filled with stories about how his oversized personality made him one of the game's most distinctive and memorable players.

Dawkins was the first high school player selected in the first round of the NBA draft. That was in 1975 when the 76ers took him fifth overall. The next player to be drafted directly out of high school was Kevin Garnett -- in 1995.

He shattered two backboards with his thunderous dunks in 1979, which led to the development of the breakaway rims that are now commonplace even in school gyms.

He was also an original with his naming of dunks and riffing of rhymes during interviews.

But perhaps the greatest examples of Dawkins' impact and legacy come from the music world.

Stevie Wonder gave him the nickname "Chocolate Thunder," which proved even blind people could appreciate just how unique he was.

Kurtis Blow, in his classic 1984 rap song "Basketball," name-checks 22 players. Twenty-one are in the Hall of Fame. Dawkins isn't, and with career averages of 12.0 points and 6.1 rebounds, he never will be. But being immortalized in a set of lyrics with fellow big men Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Willis Reed says it all about the sheer force and magnitude that came with just being Darryl Dawkins.

Just like I'm the King on the microphone
So is Dr. J and Moses Malone

I used to go to dinner, and then take the girl
To see Tiny play against Earl The Pearl
And Wilt, Big O and Jerry West
To play Basketball at its very best

Basketball has always been my thing
I like Magic, Bird and Bernard King
And number 33, my man Kareem
Is the center on my starting team

Clyde, Rick Barry and Pistol Pete
Now these players could never be beat
Isiah and Iceman too
Just give 'em the ball and then you chalk up two

Dantley and Wilkins are on the scene
And Ralph Sampson is really mean
Bill Russell didn't take no junk
And Darryl Dawkins got a monster dunk

Tell me, were you in the joint?
The night Wilt scored a 100 points
Or when Celtics won titles back-to-back
And didn't give nobody, no kind of slack

Or when Dr. J shook the whole damn team
With moves that came right out of a dream
Or when, Willis Reed stood so tall
Playing D with desire, it's basketball

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