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Bolt and Thunder

column-Vincent Juico-Sports without BordersTHIS week we look at two athletes—one from the present, Jamaican Usain Bolt, arguably the greatest track-and-field athlete of all time, and the other from the past, Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Hawkins, the late legendary National Basketball Association (NBA) dunker.

The fastest human being ever, Bolt holds both the 100-meter and 200-meter world records. He is the defending world champion in both events and the first man to win six Olympic gold medals in track and field. He’s won the world title 10 times and the first to record a “double double” by winning the 100-meter and 200-meter championships at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Most of Bolt’s victories were in the 200 meters in August 2013, at the world championships in Moscow. Bolt achieved a trio of world championships by winning his third consecutive gold medal in the event. In 2009 he broke his own previous record of 9.69 seconds by running the 100 meters in 9.58 seconds.

His list of awards include the International Amateur Athletic Federation World Athlete of the Year, Track and Field Athlete of the Year and a three-time winner of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year. He is the highest paid and most marketable athlete in the history of track and field. At the recently concluded 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China, he recorded a “triple double” by winning three gold medals, making him the most successful athlete in the history of the athletics world championships.

I never was completely conscious of height being a crucial factor in track and field until I came across this piece from an article written by David Rhodes of the BBC newsmagazine web site: “Bolt is a genetic freak because being 6 feet and 5 inches tall means he shouldn’t be able to accelerate at the speed he does given the length of his legs,” says former Great Britain sprinter Craig Pickering.

“At the beginning of a race you want to take short steps in order to accelerate, but because he’s so tall he can’t do that. But then when he reaches top speed he has a massive advantage over everyone else because he’s taking far fewer steps.”

At 6-foot-5, Bolt is the tallest track-and-field athlete ever. Bolt intends to retire after the 2017 World Championships in London.

“THE Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Glass-Flying,

Robinzine-Crying, Babies-Crying, Glass-Still-Flying,

Cats-Crying, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting,

Thank You-Wham-Bam-I-Am-Jam” from Jose Velez

“A Storm strode in tearing backboards asunder
in the hands of a gentle giant a.k.a “Chocolate Thunder”
“Yo’ mama” was the stuff of legends
Boogieing on Lovetron Rumpasaurus vibes
rim wrecker disrespectah Dunkula
Greyhound Bus long strides Candyslam
Wham bam I am jam heres your taste
In your face disgrace and still gracious.
Spacious Rump roasting toasting this ball
slamming ethers as it thumps on your head.
The Go-rilla done got you gawking
This here be the spine chiller supreme.

“Dunk you very much Mr. Darryl Dawkins” from Gary Carpenter from the comments section of an ESPN article.

Carpenter is obviously a fan of Darryl Dawkins and it isn’t hard to be a fan of this man who was well-liked and respected around the league, especially with his charity work with kids after his playing days were over.

Grammy Award winner Stevie Wonder called him “Chocolate Thunder” despite never seeing him play much less seeing him. Dawkins played straight out of high school, which makes us wonder what if this man went through college and learned the fundamentals of the game from the game’s best teachers? I think if Dawkins went through college he would’ve been a dominant center, perennial MVP candidate, an All-Star and finally, an inductee into the Hall of Fame.

He was famous for his powerful backboard breaking dunks. He shattered backboards in two regular-season games. Breakaway rims and shatterproof backboards were the result of Dawkins’s power. He played for the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets with stops in Utah and Detroit. He held career averages of 12.0 ppg (points per game), 6.0 rpg (rebounds per game), and 1.3 bpg (blocks per game). At 6-foot-11, he was big and athletic and had the lateral movement to guard guards coming off pick and rolls.

Darryl Dawkins was 58 years old.

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