Nate Thurmond, 1962
BGSU basketball great Nate Thurmond blocking a shot on December 12, 1962.
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Bowling Green, 1962
Known as “Nate the Great,” Thurmond is seen here smashing the ball out of a Miami of Ohio player’s hands as he attempted a jump shot during the season opener on Dec. 12, 1962. BGSU went on to win the game 86-36.
Thurmond attended Akron Central High School. He was offered a scholarship to Ohio State, but enrolled at BGSU instead, to ensure he got more playing time. He went on to be one of the best players in Mid-American Conference history. He and Woodward High School standout Howard “Butch” Komives led the Falcons to a 40-12 record in 1962 and 1963, two MAC championships, and two NCAA appearances. In February, 1963, the Falcons became the first MAC team to ever defeat a No. 1 team, playing before a crowd of more than 5,700 at Anderson Arena with a shocking 92-75 upset of Loyola (Chicago). Loyola went on to win the national championship.
The San Francisco (now Golden State) Warriors selected Thurmond No. 3 overall in the 1963 NBA draft. In his rookie season he played power forward with mega-talented center Wilt Chamberlain. Thurmond played for the Warriors for 11 seasons, and was traded to Chicago for the 1975-76 season. But after 13 games with the Bulls, he was traded again to the Cleveland Cavaliers and returned to his home state.
Thurmond retired in 1977, after 14 seasons in the NBA. He chalked up 14,464 rebounds, and scored 14,437 points in 1,014 NBA games. He played in seven All-Star games. He is in the Basketball Hall of Fame, the MAC Hall of Fame, and the Bowling Green Hall of Fame. In 1996, he was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. The Warriors and the Cavaliers retired his No. 42 jersey.
BLADE ARCHIVE PHOTO BY BRUCE DALE