Nate Thurmond, considered one of the top 50 NBA players in the history of the game, died Saturday after a short battle with leukemia. He was 74 years old.
The Golden State Warriors announced his death on Saturday. The franchise previously retired the Hall-of-Famer’s No. 42.
Thurmond was a native of Akron, Ohio who played 11 of his 14 seasons with the Warriors. He retired after the 1976-77 season, a year after leading his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavs also retired Thurmond’s jersey years before.
Current leaders of the teams Thurmond played for posted tributes to the NBA legend on Twitter:
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!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 16, 2016
RIP Big Fella. Legend on the court! Amazing man off! Was a pleasure to see you around the organization sinc… pic.twitter.com/MLS1kvIuGV
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) July 17, 2016
Thurmond has always been considered one of the most dominant centers in NBA history. In 1996 he was voted one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest players. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985.
The 6-foot-11 center recorded the first ever quadruple-double in NBA history with 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, and 12 blocks as a Chicago Bull. This milestone in itself shows Thurmond’s tenacity and grit, two of his most celebrated attributes.
Thurmond apprenticed under Wilt Chamberlain during his time with the Warriors. He averaged 15 points and 15 rebounds a game during his career and still holds the Warriors’ franchise record for career rebounds and minutes.
Thurmond made his way around the league after being traded by the Warriors, but ended his career in style with his hometown Cavs. The season he played in Cleveland was one of the franchise’s most successful seasons. His jersey was the first one to ever be retired by the Cavaliers’ franchise.
After retiring from the NBA, Thurmond worked for the Warriors as a community liaison and broadcast analyst until his illness made him step down earlier this year.
Thoughts and prayers go out to Thurmond’s family during this sad time.