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Remembering the 'Shah of Lovetron'

An excerpt from a 1982 Daily News column by Mark Whicker written when the Sixers traded Darryl Dawkins.

ON AUG. 30, 1982, when the Sixers traded Darryl Dawkins to New Jersey,

Daily News

columnist Mark Whicker remembered Darryl in a column. With news of Dawkins' death yesterday, here is an excerpt:

The 76ers say they did it because they couldn't count on Darryl Dawkins; didn't know, on any given night, whether he'd make all the plays or fail to remember them.


They say they did it because it gave them another No. 1 draft choice, of which you can never have enough.

Fine . . . .

But I'll remember Darryl Dawkins in ways that have very little to do with basketball . . .

Seven a.m. on the runway of the Indianapolis airport. The Sixers have lost to the Pacers so emphatically that Billy Cunningham described it as "el stinko." But the darkness and the cold will not keep the Sixers from their appointed round, at home, with Phoenix tonight.

They ooze onto the plane. Darryl Dawkins takes the adjacent seat. The stereo set he carries is the approximate size of Rhode Island. Just before he puts on the earphones, he elbows his companion awake.

"Just remember," he whispers. "I am the shah - the sheik - of Lovetron."

When he traded Dawkins to New Jersey, [Harold] Katz said people no longer cared about Lovetron, Dawkins' imaginary planet where the girls' basketball team was the "Love-a-Doves" and his star player was "Juicy Lucy." There were a few other remarks by Katz that implied Dawkins was silly, infantile, lazy, etc. Whatever you do, don't buy Harold Katz any Richard Pryor albums for Christmas. If Darryl Dawkins can't make you feel good, you either work for the CIA or have no pulse.

Sports is not a funny business anymore . . . But just before tipoff of every 76er-Celtic game in Boston Garden, there would be just a few people smiling. One would be Darryl Dawkins, sitting at the end of the bench, and the others would be the waterboys and watergirls at his feet.