The Golden State Warriors announced the passing of NBA legend Nate Thurmond this afternoon:
We are saddened by the passing of a true Warriors Legend. Rest in Peace, Nate Thurmond. pic.twitter.com/4JT9aftJlg— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) July 16, 2016
Thurmond, born in Akron, was a beloved member of the Cavaliers' "Miracle of Richfield" squad that beat the Washington Bullets in 7 games before losing to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals after an injury to the man starting in front of Thurmond, Jim Chones.
I spoke to Chones at length a few years ago about a wide range of topics, and he spoke so glowingly about Nate that you got a real appreciation for why his number 42 is hung from the rafters in the Q. After his trade from Chicago in 1976, he was a mentor and motivator the team sorely needed. The Cavs were 6-11 at the time they acquired Nate, and finished the season 49-33 and earned the huge win against Washington in the opening round of the playoffs. 6 years removed from being an expansion franchise, the win was bigger than a lot of first round wins would suggest.
For his career Thurmond averaged 15 points, 15 rebounds and 2.1 blocks (blocks began being tracked in 1973) per game across 964 contests for the San Francisco (later Golden State) Warriors, Chicago Bulls, and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Rest in peace, Nate Thurmond.