Friday, June 5, 2009

Quote of the Day (Darryl Dawkins, on How His NBA Differs From Today’s)

"When we played it was all about style. You came in a serious suit, played a serious game, and then got in a serious car with a serious girl."—Former Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets star Darryl Dawkins, quoted in Matthew Futterman, “The Return of ‘Chocolate Thunder,’” The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2009

I confess: With the New York Knicks long, helplessly out of the picture, I haven’t cared so much about what happens to the teams who actually made the playoffs. Thus, I had no idea of the mortal threat posed by Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic until LeBron James found himself waiting another year for that championship ring.

The ascension of Howard, however, did summon from the NBA past Darryl Dawkins, an American sports original. Just as Bob Gibson’s absurdly low E.R.A. in 1968 forced major league baseball to tinker with the pitcher’s mound, so the “Baby Bull”—partly named in this fashion because of his six-ft.-10-in., 260-lb. frame—sent the designers of basketball equipment back to the drawing board in a hurry when Dawkins’ mighty dunks—what he memorably labeled “Chocolate Thunder”—ended up shattering backboards and rims.

You want to know what he was like? Imagine someone with pre-Shaq power, only the guy’s also blessed with lovable braggadocio—which you would have, too, if you originated, as he claimed, from “Planet Lovetron.” I mean, really—how many athletes you know of have not one style of dunking, but several, each different—and with a more comically absurd moniker—from what came before?

Read the names of these dunk types carefully, then memorize them (we’ll have our quiz later!!!):

* “Yo Mama Special”
* “Flying Chocolate Thunder”
* “Rim Wrecker”
* “Heartstopper”
* “Look Out Below”
* “Cover Your Head”
* “In-Your-Face Disgrace”
* “Go-Rilla”
* “The Turbosexaphonic Delight"
* "The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam"
* "Get-Out-of-the-Waying, Backboard-Swaying, Game-Delaying, If-You-Ain’t-Grooving-You-Best-Get-Moving Dunk" (the personal favorite of “Dr. Dunk”

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