Did you see that flash of lightning? That was Chocolate Thunder catching the pill in the lane, and finishing with authority over a helpless defender. With a chain around his neck that would give Mr. T chills, he’d dunk around, over and through you. He put more fear in the backboard than a mouse to an elephant. With the nation’s colors on his jersey, Lovetron was an American pop idol.
Darryl Dawkins will always be remembered for his rim rocking, glass shattering dunks. His physical style of play influenced generations of big men after him. May he Rest in Peace.
Where were you when you found out Darryl Dawkins died? I was scrolling Instagram, lethargically lounging on my Hamburgular Purple couch. Suddenly, I came across a post from Bleacher Report. “Rest in Peace Darryl Dawkins” it read. Astonished and in disbelief, I felt a feeling of sadness thunder over me. “I remember watching that guy on ESPN Classic”, I exclaimed. I could hear my voice reverbing off the walls as it traveled along my hallway. I never got to see him play during his NBA career. I was one year old when he finished his career with the Detroit Pistons.
Continuing to scroll down Instagram, sports news outlets were attributing a post to the memory of Darryl Dawkins. ESPN, Sports Illustrated, All Sports News, and many other outlets I follow had a personalized tribute to the high flying legend.
Now sitting on my couch mirroring Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker, I began to ponder about life as a whole. Was Darryl Dawkins’ life worth a 15 second highlight video, and a Rest in Peace picture on Instagram? Was it worth a five minute special on that day’s SportsCenter? Every year an athlete dies, and the media’s tribute to them is covered in a moment. Then it is time to move on to the next hard breaking news story. That doesn’t really do a person justice, does it? Essentially, their death is being covered because every other news outlet will cover it too.
News outlets fail in conveying the pain that the affected feel. Or do they? Reporting on death is a necessary evil, as it is informative yet intrusive. The line is very fine. What is too much coverage, and what is not enough coverage? Media often struggles with how to please the viewer.
Where there’s not adequate coverage, there’s too much of it. Think of the families of those killed in the Charleston church massacre. Death is no longer private. People can no longer mourn in peace. There are cameras at the funeral, and reporters in the faces of mourning families. Freedom of press doesn’t allow for privacy. It is their right, right?
We don’t have a perfect answer for how to cover painful stories, and probably never will. We’ll most likely never know the Charleston victims beyond the CNN coverage. Most people that heard reports about Darryl Dawkins’ don’t have a personal connection besides watching him play. Does access give us an invitation into their privacy, or are we trespassing? I don’t know that answer, but in the meantime I’ll be watching Sixer’s games on ESPN Classic, eyes glued on number 53. Though he’s gone, Darryl Dawkins’ broken backboards and authoritative play will be on replay forever. Long Live Lovetron.