Nate Thurmond

Nate Thurmond

Thurmond with the Warriors in 1969
Personal information
Born (1941-07-25)July 25, 1941
Akron, Ohio
Died July 16, 2016(2016-07-16) (aged 74)
San Francisco, California
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight 235 lb (107 kg)
Career information
High school Central (Akron, Ohio)
College Bowling Green (1960–1963)
NBA draft 1963 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3rd overall
Selected by the San Francisco Warriors
Playing career 1963–1977
Position Power forward / Center
Number 42
Career history
19631974 San Francisco / Golden State Warriors
19741976 Chicago Bulls
19761977 Cleveland Cavaliers
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 14,437 (15.0 ppg)
Rebounds 14,464 (15.0 rpg)
Assists 2,575 (2.7 apg)
Stats at
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Nathaniel "Nate" Thurmond (July 25, 1941 – July 16, 2016) was an American basketball player who spent the majority of his 14-year career in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Golden State Warriors. He played the center and power forward positions.[1] Thurmond was a seven-time All-Star and the first player in NBA history to record an official quadruple-double. In 1965, he grabbed 42 rebounds in a game; only Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell recorded more rebounds in an NBA game. Thurmond was named both a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.[2]

Known to fans as "Nate the Great",[3] Thurmond has had his No. 42 jersey retired by both the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.[4]

High school and college career

Thurmond starred at Akron's Central High School, where he played alongside fellow future NBA star Gus Johnson.[5] Passing up a scholarship offer from Ohio State to avoid becoming a backup to Jerry Lucas, a high school rival, Thurmond chose to play college basketball at Bowling Green.[6]

Thurmond led the Mid-American Conference in rebounds during all three of his varsity seasons (with a college career average of 17.0 rebounds per game),[6] and was named a first-team All-American by The Sporting News in 1963.[7] In Thurmond's last two years with Bowling Green, he helped lead the team into the NCAA Tournament and he set a school record with 31 rebounds in his final college game.[6]

NBA career

San Francisco/Golden State Warriors

Thurmond was drafted by the San Francisco Warriors (now known as the Golden State Warriors) in the 1963 NBA draft. As a rookie, he mainly played a supporting role alongside Hall of Fame center Wilt Chamberlain. Thurmond averaged 7 points and 10.4 rebounds in his first NBA season and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1964.[5]

After Chamberlain was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers during the next season, Thurmond blossomed into a highly productive starting center for the Warriors. Among his many accomplishments, Thurmond set a regular season record for rebounds in a quarter with 18,[5] and averaged 21.3 and 22.0 rebounds per game in the 1966–67 and 1967–68 seasons.[3] Thurmond placed second to Chamberlain in the MVP balloting in the 1966–67 season,[8] averaged over 20 points per game each season from 1967–68 through 1971–72, and played in seven NBA All-Star Games as a member of the Warriors.[3] However, even with the contributions of star teammates like Rick Barry, the Warriors were unable to win a championship with Thurmond at center. They reached the 1967 NBA Finals, but lost to Chamberlain's 76ers.[5]

Chicago Bulls

Thurmond was acquired by the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Clifford Ray and $100,000 prior to the 1974–75 season on September 3, 1974. The Bulls had felt a need for one starting center rather than continue with a three-man rotation of Ray, Tom Boerwinkle and Dennis Awtrey. The Warriors added more fiscal stability when completing the deal.[9] On October 18, 1974 against the Atlanta Hawks, in his debut as a Bull, he recorded 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocked shots, becoming the first player in NBA history to officially record a quadruple-double[5] (blocked shots were not counted before 1973–74).[10]

Cleveland Cavaliers

Thirteen games into the 1975–76 season, Thurmond was traded along with Rowland Garrett to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Steve Patterson and Eric Fernsten on November 27, 1975. Thurmond's mobility on the court failed to mesh with an offense built for a more stationary center, resulting in diminished playing time on a team enduring a nine-game losing streak at the time of the deal.[11] In Cleveland, the now 35-year-old Thurmond came off the bench for the injured Jim Chones to lead Cleveland's "Miracle at Richfield" team to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals before the Cavaliers lost to the star-studded Boston Celtics in 1976.[12]

Retirement and death

Thurmond at the Golden State Warriors Victory Parade on June 19, 2015

After retirement, Thurmond returned to San Francisco and opened a restaurant, Big Nate's BBQ.[13] He sold the restaurant after 20 years, while living in San Francisco with his wife, Marci. He was given the title "Warriors Legend & Ambassador" by the Warriors organization.[14]

Thurmond died at the age of 74 on July 16, 2016 after a short battle with leukemia.[15]

Statistical accomplishments

First player in NBA history to record a quadruple-double in a game:[2] Chicago Bulls (120) vs. Atlanta Hawks (115), October 18, 1974 (OT)[10]

One of five players in NBA history to average at least 15 rebounds per game for his career: 15.0[16] (14,464/964)[3]

One of five players in NBA history to average at least 20 rebounds per game during a season: 21.3 (1966–67), 22.0 (1967–68)[3]

One of four players in NBA history to record 40 or more rebounds in a game: 42, vs. Detroit Pistons, November 9, 1965[18]

NBA record for rebounds in a quarter: 18, at Baltimore Bullets, February 28, 1965[5]

See also


  1. Brown, Daniel (July 16, 2016). "Nate Thurmond dead at 74; Warriors legend battled leukemia". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  2. 1 2 "In era of great centers, Nate Thurmond was among the best". ESPN. July 16, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Nate Thurmond NBA Stats". Retrieved January 5, 2008.
  4. "NBA legend Nate Thurmond dies at 74". July 16, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Nate Thurmond Bio". Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 Musselman, Ron (March 13, 2005). "Nate the Great: Thurmond was BG's best and among elite in NBA". Toledo Blade. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  7. "Nate Thurmond, Bowling Green". Mid-American Conference. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  8. "1966-67 NBA Awards Voting". Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  9. "Chicago Acquires Nate Thurmond; For Clifford Ray and Cash". Schenectady Gazette. September 4, 1974. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 Granderson, LZ (March 11, 2009). "Will the NBA ever produce another quadruple-double?". ESPN Page 2. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  11. Logan, Bob. "Nate goes to Cavs, Bulls get Patterson; Pick up Marin from Braves," Chicago Tribune, Friday, November 28, 1975
  12. Livingston, Bill (July 17, 2016). "Nate Thurmond, defensive star of Miracle of Richfield Cavaliers, dies". Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  13. Lucchesi, Paolo (December 27, 2011). "Big Nate's BBQ closes; CatHead's BBQ en route". SFGate. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  14. Whiting, Sam (March 3, 2013). "Big Nate Thurmond a center of attention". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  15. "Warriors Legend and Hall of Famer Nate Thurmond Passes Away at Age of 74". July 16, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  16. 1 2 "NBA & ABA Career Leaders and Records for Rebounds Per Game". Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  17. "NBA & ABA Single Season Leaders and Records for Rebounds Per Game". Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  18. Weir, Tom (November 9, 2011). "Daily NBA fix: The night Nate Thurmond had 42 rebounds". USA Today. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  19. Shouler, Ken (July 16, 2016). "Emerging from Wilt's shadow, Nate Thurmond became an all-time great". ESPN. Retrieved July 17, 2016.

Further reading

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