PORTLAND, OR - 1986: Darryl Dawkins #53 of the New Jersey Nets looks on against the Portland Trail Blazers during a game played in 1986 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon. Copyright 1986 NBAE (Photo by Brian Drake/NBAE via Getty Images)
Photo: Brian Drake
Photo: Brian Drake

Former NBA star Darryl Dawkins, known as ‘Chocolate Thunder,’ has died

Darryl Dawkins, the former NBA player known for his tremendous dunking ability, died Thursday at age 58, according to WFMZ.

The NBA, via one of its Twitter accounts, also confirmed the news of his death.

The family released a statement, saying Dawkins died of a heart attack.

Dawkins was the first NBA player to be drafted directly out of high school. He played in the NBA for 15 seasons, mainly with the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets.

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Nicknamed “Chocolate Thunder” by Stevie Wonder, he is best remembered for shattering two backboards with his powerful dunks.

Dawkins coached after retiring from the NBA.

He was active on Twitter, where he was known by the handle, @Thunderdunk53. His last post was the day before he was reported dead.

Fans quickly turned to social media to express their shock and sadness.

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