Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Nate Thurmond dead: NBA Hall of Famer and former Warriors player, dies at 74

Posted on

NBA PHOTOS/ NBAE/ Getty Images

Nate Thurmond, the former Golden State Warriors center who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985, has died in San Francisco after short battle with leukemia, according to the Warriors. He was 74. 

Playing 14 seasons — 11 with the Warriors, and one-and-a-half with both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls — Thurmond was voted one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history, named a seven-time All-Star, and five-time NBA all-defensive team selection. 

Standing at 6 feel 11 inches tall, Thurmond, known as “Big Nate” and “Nate the Great,” played college basketball at Bowling Green before being selected third by the then-San Francisco Warriors in the 1963 NBA draft, going on to become the franchise’s all-time leader in rebounds, with 12,771 to his credit. During his debut with the Bulls, he became the first player to record an official quadruple-double — he tallied 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocks against the Atlanta Hawks in Oct. 1974. 

Born in Akron, Ohio, Thurmond retired after the 1967-77 season, going on to open a BBQ restaurant in San Francisco and becoming the director of community relations for the Warriors, who, along with the Cavaliers, retired his number, 42. 

“We’ve lost one of the most iconic figures in the history of not only our organization, but the NBA in general, with the passing of Nate Thurmond,” Warriors owner Joe Lacob said in a statement. “Nate represented this franchise with class, dignity and humility as both a player and community relations ambassador for over 40 years. Without a doubt, he is one of the most beloved figures to ever wear a Warriors uniform and both a Hall of Fame player and Hall of Fame person, hence his #42 jersey hanging from the rafters at Oracle Arena. On behalf of the entire Warriors organization, our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family, including his wife, Marci. We’ll miss his presence in his customary seats at our games next season, but his legacy will live forever.”

LeBron James, also an Akron native and Cleveland Cavalier, tweeted, “Damn man!!! R.I.P Akron’s own Nate Thurmond. Knowing u played in the same rec league as me growing up gave me hope of making it out! Thanks!” 

Fellow Hall of Famer Magic Johnson said Thurmond was “one of the best that’s ever played in the NBA” in his tweet.

See more reactions below: