Nathaniel “Nate” Thurmond (born July 25, 1941- July 16, 2016) is a retired American basketball player. Dominant at both center and power forward, he was a seven-time All-Star and the first player in NBA history to record an official quadruple-double. He is also only one of three players, along with Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, to grab more than 40 rebounds in one NBA game.
In 1963, he was drafted by the San Francisco Warriors later that year. With the Warriors, Thurmond was an aggressive rebounder-defender who played at the forward position opposite superstar Wilt Chamberlain or was his backup at center. Despite playing on the same team as the dominant Chamberlain, Thurmond made an impact and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1964.
When Chamberlain was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, Thurmond became the All-Star starting center Chamberlain said he could be. Among his many accomplishments, Thurmond still holds the regular season record for rebounds in a quarter with 18. He averaged 21.3 and 22.0 rebounds per game in the 1966-67 and 1967-68 seasons — season averages exceeded by only Bill Russell and Chamberlain in NBA history. Thurmond placed second to Chamberlain in the MVP balloting in the 1966-67 season, and averaged over 20 points per game each season from 1967-68 through 1971-72, and played in seven NBA All-Star Games while with the Warriors. However, while star players like Rick Barry and Jerry Lucas came and went, the Warriors were unable to win a championship with Thurmond at center, often failing to get past the star studded Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Division playoffs. Thurmond was an excellent passing center and was well known as the best screen setter in the league for many years.
He was traded to the Chicago Bulls for Clifford Ray prior to the 1974-75 season. 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 (blocked shots were not counted before 1973–74).
Thurmond remains one of the greatest rebounders and shot blockers ever, named both a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
Known to fans as “Nate the Great”, Thurmond has had his #42 jersey retired by both the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers franchises.
He was given the title “Warriors Legend & Ambassador” by the Warriors organization.
Thurmond died at the age of 74 on July 16, 2016 after a short battle with leukemia
Career highlights and awards
7× NBA All-Star (1965–1968, 1970, 1973–1974)
2× NBA All-Defensive First Team (1969, 1971)
3× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1972–1974)
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1964)
NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
No. 42 retired by the Golden State Warriors
No. 42 retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers
Consensus second-team All-American (1963)
3× First-team All-MAC (1961–1963)