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MANCHILD IN THE NBA
Dave Wohl
April 11, 1988
Did Darryl Dawkins, Sir Slam, fail to live up to the great expectations of his fans and his NBA coaches? A former coach searches for the answer
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April 11, 1988

Manchild In The Nba

Did Darryl Dawkins, Sir Slam, fail to live up to the great expectations of his fans and his NBA coaches? A former coach searches for the answer

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Yet I realize that I am still subjecting Dawkins to the parameters of my own standards. I want him to live up to my expectations regardless of his own hopes. Perhaps I am the one who has not learned from the past. After all, whose expectations should we live up to? Our own or everyone else's?

Dawkins is 31 and believes he can play four or five more years. He says he has nothing to prove to anyone. And don't expect him to change Just because he plays in a new location. He will play as he always has, smiling and joking and conserving energy as the veterans told him to a long time ago.

Though he has never reached his potential, he has, curiously, outlasted it. He has evolved from the next coming of Chamberlain into simply another big body that somebody, somewhere, will need. He has wrestled with the monster called Potential, and he has won because he has not let it destroy him.

Most of us will judge him solely on what he could have been in the beginning or what he was when his career ended. Too many will be blinded by the flashes of brilliance that never materialized into consistent greatness. They will overlook much of Dawkins's career. No, it was not great. But it was solid. Perhaps he could have been more if he had had the inclination. There were times when he teased us with a hint of how he could dominate a game. And we went home in awe and yet sad because we knew of no spell to make it happen more frequently. But few players could make us feel that way even once.

Darryl Dawkins is content with his career and with himself. He has endured the burdens heaped on him when he was 18 years old. He has carried the weight of others' dreams and desires and expectations and is still able to get up in the morning and smile at the reflection in the mirror.

We should all be so lucky.

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