Darryl Dawkins dunks to a different drummer, so naturally that baseline bomb he laid on Elvin Hayes midway through the third quarter today would be given proper postgame attention.
But how special had it been? Could it have been better than his "In Your Face Disgrace?" Or his "Hammer of Thor?" Or "Yo Mama?" Or the "Sexophonic Turbo Delight?" Surely, the closest had either been his "Look Out Below" or his "Cover Your Damn Head."
For proper emphasis, Dawkins slowly raised his head as he sat on his dressing-room stool, revealing two necklaces -- one of which had "Sir Slam" printed in large gold letters. He cocked his head to the right, so the gold earring was obvious, and said:
"Just a regular dunk."
Pens screeched to a halt. This delightful mountain, nearly a four-year NBA veteran at age 22, had just finished wondering out loud whether he ought to give up basketball for boxing. His sense of timing would not allow an interview to end on such a flat note.
It did not. The dunk, as the Bullets and their faithful still remember with a shudder, began on the right baseline, with Dawkins soaring toward the basket, the ball held grapefruit-like in his right hand while his left forearm swatted the enormous Hayes aside. And slowly Dawkins began to smile as he recalled the move. There would be a name, but it would come from a fan who, anticipating it, had written earlier in the week to suggest: "Over the Land, Out of the Sky, with a Wham, Bam, Jam in Elvin Hayes' Eye."
Dawkins added ever so innocently: "I was trying for a two-handed stuff and my left hand just dropped a bit and Elvin kinda ran into it."
Some Dawkins watchers thought that perhaps this game, the Lame against the Halt, might be recalled as the one in which Sir Slam began his uninterrupted dominance of pro hoops. Everyone assumes that will happen; when it happens is the only unknown.
"Well," said Jack McMahon, Sixer assistant coach, "he would be a senior in college now. Or just the right age to carry an NBA franchise."
Dawkins said otherwise, though his mind might have agreed.
'I didn't see it as turning no corner," he said. "It (the 107-99 victory) was a team effort. I could have done what I did (24 points and 13 rebounds) and we still could have lost without what them other guys did."
What they did was give him the ball.
"Sometimes it just don't make it around to my side," he continued. "But he (the newly acquired Eric Money) gets it to me, 'cause he wants an assist and I want two points. Bricks? Early? You can't say that. I thought you were nice.
Dawkins was laughing by now. As is clearly evident, he enjoys himself -- and is much brighter than his grammar would indicate. He tried the I-might-turn-boxer routine more than a week ago, but nobody paid much attention because he had not played well.
Today the market for Dawkinism was bullish. So he volunteered: "I think I would like to box. I think I could make more money in boxing. You play ball six or seven years and make maybe $2 million.
"For one fight, you might get $4 million -- if you get to the top. The government gets half, of course, so you still make $2 million in two months as opposed to $2 million in six or seven years.
"And a guy 6-10 or 6-11 ain't gonna be hit in the face too often. And I could hit 'em on top of the head. I don't know anybody that's hit on the top of the head that don't stumble. And when he stumbles, I hit him square -- and he falls."
This is "just something I've been thinking about," he added, just as he sometimes considered "Interplanetary Funkmanship" and other thoughts most mortals fail to notice. "I've never met (Muhammad) Ali personally, but if he sees I got potential he might train me.
First, though, Dawkins had better perform his job of the moment with a bit more polish. Those Hayes-like turnaround jumpers from 18 feet will not fall every game. And his stamina is suspect.
"I've always turned away from the basket," he said. "I feel like I shoot better that way. To me, turning inside is a tougher shot. I know I'd be in better position for a tip-in or a rebound, but the other way is easier."
Of the Sixers' position, four games behind the Bullets in the Atlantic Division with the season five-eighths completed, Dawkins bragged: "I said before and I'll say it again. The Bullets can be caught.
"But they might have taken us lightly without Doc (Julius Erving) and Doug (Collins)."
The Bullets also were wounded, which meant that a Dawkins figured to play hero for a change. Health matters were such that Collins would say after the game: "I feel great. I'm going to the hospital (for surgery) in a few minutes."
For his efforts today, Dawkins earned $1,000 from CBS and split it between his Florida high school and his church. And the chance to float that boxing balloon.
Someone mentioned that Dawkins could begin his new career as an amateur.He has no experience, although two uncles have boxed.
"Amateur?" he yelled. "What's that? You've got to remember I never been to college."