He almost instantly became a fan favorite in Philadelphia because of his backboard-shattering dunks (which he would name). He broke two backboards in the 1979-80 season: one at Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium on November 13, 1979 (which he called "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") and a second backboard 23 days later at the Philadelphia Spectrum in a game against the San Antonio Spurs. The 76ers lost both games in which he broke backboards. Because his dunks resulted in delays while teams went to find another backboard, the NBA eventually modified their basketball rims to make them collapsible in the event another superstar wanted to emulate Dawkins' dunks.
Additional Dawkins dunk names include: In Your Face Disgrace, The Go-rilla, Earthquaker Shaker, Candyslam, Dunk You Very Much, Look Out Below, Yo Mama, Turbo Sexophonic Delight, Rim Wrecker, Greyhound Bus (went coast-to-coast), Cover Your Head, Spine Chiller Supreme, Slam Bam Thank You Maam and Walk Away From Love.
His nickname was "Chocolate Thunder", and he claimed to be an alien from planet Lovetron where he spent off-season practicing "interplanetary funkmanship" and where his girlfriend Juicy Lucy still lived.