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Former NBA player Darryl Dawkins has died

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Former NBA star Darryl Dawkins passed away on Thursday at the age of 58, according to a report by WFMZ-TV of Lehigh Valley.

Dawkins spent 15 years in the NBA, 12 of which were productive seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets. He later joined the Utah Jazz andDetroit Pistons, but was limited to just 26 games over the final three years of his career due to a back injury he sustained in 1985-86. He appeared in the NBA Finals with Philadelphia in 1977, 1980, and 1982.

Between 1977 and 1986, Dawkins averaged no fewer than 11 points per game, topping out at 16.8 in 1983-84 with the Nets. The 6-foot-11, 251-pound center was often among the league leaders in field goal percentage and often had brief periods of dominance.

Overall, Dawkins averaged 12.0 on 57.2 percent shooting, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game in his 15-year NBA career.

Dawkins will be remembered for his excellent nicknames such as "Chocolate Thunder" and "Dr. Dunkenstein" nicknames and will have his place in NBA history beyond some strong seasons. After Dawkins shattered two backboards on plays that will forever be on highlight reels in 1979, the league decided to adopt breakaway rims and made breaking the backboard a fine.

Ever the showman, Dawkins created a number of nicknames for his dunks, including the infamous In-Your-Face-Disgrace. Dawkins was also the first player to be drafted to the NBA straight out of high school in 1975, one year after the ABA's Utah Stars drafted Moses Malone straight out of high school.

Dawkins played briefly with Harlem Globetrotters and coached basketball at several different levels following his retirement. He is survived by his three children Nick, Alexis and Tabitha.

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