I was a Seventy Sixer Fan, and those guys were everything basketball should be. It always seemed to ended up the Sixers and the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. If either team would win the series (best of 7) on the other teams court the fans would shout "Beat LA" because these teams, and their fans hated each other, but there was a special loathing for the Lakers. "Show Time" to a Philly or Boston fan just meant you didn't want to get your uniform all mussed playing real basketball.
Real basketball involved power, and a little savagery. And the Sixers had it. Dr. J, soaring, bird of prey like, from the free throw line, to finish with a one handed tomahawk jam. It was a melding of art and power. "When the doctor makes a house call the patient always dies."
And in the heart of the beast, was Darryl Dawkins. A huge man, of gigantic proportions, and enormous flair. He could grab a rebound with one hand, and turn and fire it in a baseball pass all the way the way down the court. It was a thing of beauty.
He was the first player drafted by the NBA right out of high school. A man child, who never really grew up. Thank God.
His thunderous dunks were spectacular. He was the first one to shatter a backboard, and he did it
twice. It just exploded. Fireworks! He was Chocolate Thunder from the Planet Lovetron. His spectacle included naming his dunks. "Dunk you very much," Spine Chiller" "Hey Doctor Naismith, Get Out Of My Waysmith, Or You Will Get Peach Basket Splinters All Over Your Facesmith."
On a team with World B Free, Doctor J, and George McGinnis Dawkins always stood out. He was a 6' 11" marketeer, with a constant smile, and an exuberant, charming personality. He was the king of the court. Of all the players I will never get to meet, he may be the one I regret most.
The NBA is not as much fun as it used to be, and it needs a Darryl Dawkins now.