The sports world is in mourning this week after Nate Thurmond, the Hall of Fame center for the Golden State Warriors who became one of the National Basketball Association’s most dominant defensive players and rebounders, died on Saturday in San Francisco. He was 74 years-old.
His wife Marci confirmed to The New York Times that his cause of death was leukemia.
Thurmond played mostly for the Warriors in the 1960s and ’70s, and was named one of the N.B.A.’s 50 greatest players in 1996 when it celebrated its 50th anniversary. Averaging 15 points a game, Thurmond showed a fine outside shooting touch, along with 15 rebounds.
Standing at 6 feet 11 inches, Thurmond went head to head with the likes of Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Willis Reed and Wilt Chamberlain, his onetime teammate.
“He played with unbelievable intensity and was simply a man among boys on most nights, especially on the defensive end,” Jerry West, the Hall of Fame guard for the Los Angeles Lakers and a member of the Warriors’ executive board, said in a statement on Saturday.
Lebron James, who also comes from Thurmond’s hometown of Akron, Ohio, took to Twitter to honor the legend.
“Knowing u played in the same rec league as me growing up gave me hope of making it out! Thanks!” he wrote.
Rest in peace, Nate Thurmond!