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Make it funky

Retired NBA showman Darryl Dawkins lets loose

Posted: Tuesday March 1, 2005 1:07PM; Updated: Tuesday March 1, 2005 3:50PM
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Darryl Dawkins
In his 14-year NBA career, Darryl Dawkins averaged 12 points, more than 6 rebounds and almost four fouls a game.
Bruce Bennett/NBAE/Getty Images

Darryl Dawkins made national headlines in 1975 when he was the fifth overall pick in the NBA Draft, becoming the first player ever to move directly from high school to the NBA. Though he recorded few statistical distinctions during his 14-year NBA career, his glass-shattering dunks, imposing physicality and crowd-pleasing flamboyance etched Dawkins indelibly into eternal NBA lore. Here the original NBA man-child recalls a young Karl Malone's off-the-court prowess, suggests a choice one-liner to throw at an abusive fan and explains why he's the last person Isiah Thomas should call for help.

SI.com: You've claimed to come from Planet Lovetron but actually grew up in Orlando, Fla. When did you realize the discrepancy?

Darryl Dawkins: I realized the discrepancy when I was about 18 years old. When I figured out I had more funk than most people from Orlando. I had too much funk to be tied down to one hometown so I went off to Lovetron.

SI.com: In 1983-84 you recorded the most personal fouls in an NBA season (386). You also hold the next-highest mark (379), achieved the season before. Who did you like to foul the most?

DD: I liked to foul anybody who was coming in the lane. I wanted to let guys know it wasn't a Sunday drive. If you came in the lane I was going to hit you -- hit you repeatedly and often.

SI.com: Your book, Chocolate Thunder, was co-written by Charley Rosen. Have you been to the "Beyond the Basketball" camp Rosen runs with Phil Jackson at Omega Institute, the New Age mecca in Rhinebeck, N.Y.?

DD: Yes I have. It was like being on Earth but not having a whole lot of fun.

SI.com: Not having a whole lot of fun?

DD: It's a different kind of camp. Omega is not a bad camp, it's just a camp for a different kind of people -- not for Lovetronians.

SI.com: Phil Jackson's new book, The Last Season: A Team in Search of its Soul, spills a lot of locker room dirt about Kobe and Shaq. What new age philosophy is that all about, exactly?

DD: I'm sure between Kobe and Shaq there was a lot of things going on. I'm sure they kept it quiet. When I played in Philadelphia I guess the worst dirt we had was walking into the locker room and seeing three or four guys smoking. So I picked up a beer and started drinking it and somebody yelled "Hey, we don't do that." That might've been the most dirt coming out our locker room. With Shaq and Kobe it's just two different extremes: Shaq is Superman and Kobe was Robin from Batman.

SI.com: Kobe said Karl Malone hit on his wife. In your book, you say that while staying at Malone's house during your brief stint with the Utah Jazz, the Mailman interfered with one of your relationships. Based on your experience, how likely is it that Malone would hit on a fellow teammate's woman?

DD: Karl Malone? (snickering) Could be possible. I would say Karl Malone at one time -- and I'm sure I'll take some heat for this but I don't care -- if they were 18 to 80, blind, cripple or crazy; he'd go after them. I'm serious. At one time he thought he was God's gift to women. I believe he would hit on anything moving. That was before he was married, though.

SI.com: In the chapter of your book titled "Scoring off the Court," you tell of many NBA superstars who had their share of the ladies. You claim that one of the hardest working players off the court was also one of the unlikeliest -- Henry Bibby. What exactly was Bibby's approach?

DD: It was James Brown approach: the hardest working man in show business. Henry would ask twenty in hopes that two would go with him. That was his approach; ask twenty and two will roll.