Get Off the Bleachers: Darryl Dawkins Courts Players in Game of Life

Scott EisenlohrAnalyst INovember 15, 2009

At 6'11" and 260 pounds, Darryl Dawkins was an imposing figure on the basketball court as the center for the Philadelphia 76ers in the mid-1970s.

He had a 14-year career, but perhaps was best known for taking down two basketball backboards in one season, 1979-80.

So what was this former NBA player doing at the Best Buy store in Philadelphia on Sunday, Nov. 15? An old-time player helping to launch a new computer operating system, Windows 7?

Thanks to a partnership between the NBA, HP, and Microsoft; fans and bloggers, such as myself and Enrico Campitelli from 700 Level, had a 15-minute meet and greet with this NBA legend.

We found him to be gracious and charming, just as he was during his playing days in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Utah, and Detroit. Today, he lives in the area and is the head coach of the Lehigh Carbon Community College.

Keeping in theme with of the launch of Windows 7 at the Philadelphia store, here are seven questions posed by myself, Scott Eisenlohr (shown right), and Enrico (left) to Dawkins.

1. What are some of your favorite dunks names? How did you come up with them?

"I’ve had a wild imagination since I was seven years old. I used to draw in my house, including on my pillow. My mother would yell at me. So it stems from a long time ago. 'Yo Momma' was for anybody who hangs on or puts in on them. 'Cause it is for all of them; 'Turbo Sexophonic Delight; Spine Chiller Supreme,' 'The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robizine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass Breaking, Rump Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam-I-Am Jam,' and 'The Heart Stopper.' The Heart Stopper was for the guys underneath the basket when I came in and froze. They could not move: It was like their heart stopped."

2. Did you plan to break the second backboard? The first? Describe the play and how it felt?

"The first was an accident. I guess it started when I was growing up. We had wooden backboards. My dad put in number 6 nails and I would break the wood all the time. He replaced them with number 8 nails. I was still breaking them. That night [the first break in Kansas City], I felt I could have ran the Olympic 4X100. It was the fastest I ran in my life. It started breaking and we all got out of the way. The guy underneath the basket was Bill Robizine. I said, ‘Bill, you don’t block shots.’ He said that was my rotation more than anybody else's."

3. Who was the best dunker? (700 Level)

"Jim McDaniels from Buffalo. He dunked the ball and the rim was still shaking when we went down the court. Darnell Hillman of Denver was a stylish dunker with long arms. And Dr. J, he always did fantastic stuff."

4. How did you feel being the first NBA player drafted out of high school, along with Bill Willoughby? Moses Malone was before you guys, but he started in the ABA. Would you suggest players to do it today?

"The question kills people in trivia. They guess Moses and he started in the old ABA. To be honest with you, I always teach that everything don’t happen that did for Darryl Dawkins. I can’t justify not going to college. I was young and felt bulletproof."

5. People in Philadelphia remember your time here. You reached the finals with the 76ers in 1980. And you played in three NBA finals. You played with some great players. Who do your remember?

"World B. Free my brother, Bobby Jones, Doug Collins, Fred “Mad Dog” Carter, George McGinnis, and Clyde Lee."

6. What do you think of Andre Iguodala's nickname, Iggy? (700 Level)

"It is not fair for me to say. Iggy: He might not like the nickname, but I just can’t say. When I was a kid, nicknames were from what you did. 'Scold cap,' he got the nickname ‘cause he got caught by a girl's window and her mother poured hot water on him. Another guy we called humpback."

7. How is your team at Lehigh Carbon Community College doing? Your first game was Nov. 2.

"We are 3-0 in the conference and we lost two out of conference games to bigger, stronger teams. Besides being a basketball coach, I am teaching them life lessons. How to treat ladies. And everybody wants to be a rapper. I take them to shelters, soup kitchens, to see underprivileged children. Life is much longer than basketball."