A basketball legend who learned his trade under Wilt Chamberlain and became a foil for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has died. The Washington Post reports that Nate Thurmond died July 16 in San Francisco. He was 74.
Thurmond had a 14-year NBA career spanning 1963-1977, playing mostly center while also playing power forward. He apprenticed as a backup to Wilt Chamberlain in his rookie season with the San Francisco Warriors before stepping up to a starting role after Chamberlain was traded the following season.
Thurmond and Chamberlain later became rivals, with Thurmond’s Warriors losing to Chamberlain’s 76ers in the 1967 NBA Finals.
Renowned for his defense and rebounding, Thurmond was a seven-time all-star. Late in his career, he became one of the few NBA centers who could hold his own against the Lakers’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Thurmond, who stood 6-foot-11, spent two seasons with the Chicago Bulls, notching a remarkable achievement in his first game with the team when he recorded the first quadruple-double in NBA history, chalking up 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocks.
He capped off his career with one season in Cleveland, leading the “Miracle” Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. Thurmond was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985.