Chocolate Thunder. It’s one of the best nicknames in basketball history, up there with Magic and Air Jordan. Not only does it sound awesome, it perfectly describes what its owner, Darryl Dawkins, was all about on the court.
And, as Dime Magazine found out, the origin story is just as good as the nickname.
Dime: How did the nickname Chocolate Thunder originate?
DD: Stevie Wonder used to come the ball games and they would have a guy sitting with him. And the guy would be holding on to his arm, telling him what’s going on, and he would say, “Hey, the big chocolate guy just put down a thunder dunk. The chocolate guy with another monster dunk.” And Stevie Wonder actually gave me the nickname Chocolate Thunder. So a guy who never saw me can give me that name. I think I can wear that well. I don’t even know if he remembers, it’s been so long, but I’ll keep that.
That’s so great. Stevie Wonder, one of the best musicians of all-time, who just so happens to be blind, came up with one of the best nicknames ever because his friend used to describe how often Darryl Dawkins was dunking, even though there was no way Stevie Wonder could know what a dunk is. That’d be like Helen Keller dubbing George Mikan “Mr. Basketball” after Anne Sullivan caught a few Lakers games, except this really happened.
Somehow, this whole story needs to be on Awesome People Hanging Out Together.