In today’s era, we have a bunch of athletic and powerful dunkers, yet it has been a long time since we have seen someone shatter a backboard, and there is a big chance we will never see it again. In a major part, we can credit that to one of the most powerful dunkers ever, the late and great Darryl Dawkins.
During the 1979-1980 NBA Season Dawkins had a three-week stretch in which he totally shattered two backboards. The first one came in a game against the Kansas City Kings at Municipal Auditorium on November 13, 1979, Dawkins broke the backboard, sending the Kings’ Bill Robinzine ducking. The whole glass backboard broke into a million pieces.
Three weeks later he did it again, this time at home against the San Antonio Spurs at the Spectrum. He received a pass from Doug Collins on a 3 on 1 fast break and jammed a two-handed power jam. Only this time he brought the rim down with him along with shattering the backboard again. The game had a 1:14h long delay while the broken parts of glass were getting cleaned from the floor. Dawkins called the broken chips of glass “Darryl’s diamonds”
Dawkins had an interesting name for his first backboard-breaking dunk, naming it “The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam.” Also, Stevie Wonder, who frequently attended Sixers games, gave Dawkins the nickname “Chocolate Thunder.”
A few days after that the NBA created a new rule that breaking a backboard was an offense that would result in a fine and suspension. After multiple issues with the new rule, nine years later they allowed the slam dunk to be legal again due to the invention of the breakaway rim. The only player to come close after that was Shaq bringing down the whole construction down twice, but yet never shattering the backboard during an actual game.