Former Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets center Darryl Dawkins has sadly passed away at the age of 58 today, according to WFWZ-TV's 69 News.
Dawkins made history when he entered the NBA in 1975 by becoming the first player ever to enter the pro league straight out of high school, blazing a trail for the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and LeBron James.
It is unclear at the time of writing as to what caused Dawkins' passing but, considering the 58-year-old had been active on social media as recently as Wednesday evening it certainly appears to have been a sudden event.
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Selected fifth overall, Dawkins went on to make a name for himself in the NBA with signature sensational dunks, whilst also picking up one of the most iconic nicknames in the game, 'Chocolate Thunder.'
Dawkins was one of the most popular players of his generation - he played in the NBA between 1975-1989 - and his death has already led to an outpouring of tributes.
Shaquielle O'Neal, speaking on SiriusXM today, described Dawkins as a "great", whilst a host of NBA media and former employees of the league were quick to pay respect:
During his time in Philadelphia and New Jersey, and latterly with the Utah Jazz and Detroit Pistons, Darryl Dawkins was a highlight reel machine when it came to dunking.
Had he been around in the modern era his backboard smashing antics - he destroyed two in two separate games in 1979 - would have meant regular appearances on Sports Center Top 10.
Dawkins played in Italy and Canada, as well as for the Harlem Globetrotters since leaving the NBA and was most recently the head coach of the men's basketball team at Lehigh Carbon Community College.
Chocolate Thunder was one of the NBA's biggest, most entertaining characters and he will be missed.
NBA fans: Do you have any particular;y fond memories of Chocolate Thunder? Let us know in the comments below...