Mychal Thompson

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Mychal Thompson
Mychal Thompson.jpg
Thompson in 2012
Personal information
Born (1955-01-30) January 30, 1955 (age 67)
Nassau, Bahamas
NationalityBahamian / American
Listed height6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Listed weight226 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High schoolJackson (Miami, Florida)
CollegeMinnesota (1974–1978)
NBA draft1978 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Portland Trail Blazers
Playing career1978–1992
PositionCenter
Number43
Career history
19781986Portland Trail Blazers
1986–1987San Antonio Spurs
19871991Los Angeles Lakers
1991–1992Juvecaserta Basket
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points12,810 (13.7 ppg)
Rebounds6,951 (7.4 rpg)
Blocks1,073 (1.1 bpg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at Basketball-Reference.com

Mychal George Thompson (born January 30, 1955) is a Bahamian-American former basketball player. The top overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft, Thompson played the center position for the University of Minnesota and center and forward for the National Basketball Association's Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, and Los Angeles Lakers. Thompson won two NBA championships with the Lakers during their Showtime era in the 1980s. He is the father of basketball players Klay Thompson and Mychel Thompson, and baseball player Trayce Thompson.

Early life[edit]

Thompson was born to a Catholic family in Nassau, Bahamas,[1] where he grew playing pickup on the local courts and where his love for the game grew.[2] He eventually moved to the United States as a teenager in order to compete at a higher level. Settling in Miami, Florida, Thompson attended Miami Jackson Senior High School. In his senior year in 1974, as part of a basketball starting lineup nicknamed the "Jackson 5" featuring himself, three other Bahamians and a Cuban, the Generals mowed through the regular season, beating opponents by an average of 30 points per game en route to a 33–0 record and winning the Class 4A state championship over Winter Park High School. The title was won with four key ineligible players (due to falsified birth records), including Thompson, on Miami Jackson's team.[3] Thompson then attended the University of Minnesota where he had a standout collegiate career.

NBA career[edit]

The Portland Trail Blazers selected Thompson with the first overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft, making him the first foreign-born player to be selected first.[4]

Thompson was in the Portland lineup for eight years, where he started at both power forward and center positions. He was named to the 1978 All-Rookie team, and had arguably his statistically best season in 1981–82, where he averaged 20.8 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. In the 1987 off-season, Thompson was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for center/forward Steve Johnson.

Thompson played only half a season with the Spurs, before he was traded again, February 1987, this time to Los Angeles for center/forward Frank Brickowski, center Pétur Guðmundsson plus a 1987 first-round draft pick and their 1990 second-round draft choice, along with an undisclosed amount of cash. Thompson was acquired as a back-up center and power forward. This gave the Pat Riley-coached Lakers a team that had four players who were overall #1 selections in the NBA draft, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1969), Magic Johnson (1979), and James Worthy (1982). The trade proved valuable to the 1986–87 Lakers, who went on to defeat Boston for the 1987 NBA title. Thompson thrived as Abdul-Jabbar's backup. In Game 6 of the 1987 NBA Finals, he had 15 points and nine rebounds and played 37 minutes, as the Lakers won the series.[5]

Thompson appeared in 193 of a total of 197 regular season Laker games from the time of his acquisition through the 1988–1989 season, nine of them as a starter. He proved to be a reliable backup during 1987–88 and 1988–89 seasons for the aging Abdul-Jabbar (and later Vlade Divac) and power forward for A. C. Green. The Lakers won another title in 1988, beating the Detroit Pistons, and reached the Finals in 1989, falling to Detroit, and again, in 1991. He retired later that year.

As of 2022, Mychal and his son Klay are one of five father-son duos to have each won an NBA Championship as a player; the others were (in chronological order of completing the feat) Matt Guokas, Sr. and his son Matt Guokas, Jr., Hall of Famer Rick Barry and his son Brent Barry, and Hall of Famer Bill Walton and his son Luke Walton, and Hall of Famer Gary Payton and his son Gary Payton II. The Thompsons, along with the Waltons, are also the only father-son tandems to have each won two championships, with the Thompsons being the only tandem to win in two consecutive years.

NBA career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
 †  Won an NBA championship

Regular season[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1978–79 Portland 73 29.4 .490 .572 8.3 2.4 .9 1.8 14.7
1980–81 Portland 79 35.3 .494 .000 .641 8.7 3.6 .8 2.2 17.0
1981–82 Portland 79 78 39.6 .523 .628 11.7 4.0 .9 1.4 20.8
1982–83 Portland 80 80 37.7 .489 .000 .621 9.4 4.8 .9 1.4 15.7
1983–84 Portland 79 74 33.5 .524 .000 .667 8.7 3.9 1.1 1.4 15.7
1984–85 Portland 79 55 33.1 .515 .684 7.8 2.6 1.0 1.3 18.4
1985–86 Portland 82 78 31.3 .498 .641 7.4 2.1 .9 .4 14.7
1986–87 San Antonio 49 6 24.7 .436 1.000 .735 5.6 1.8 .6 .8 12.3
1986–87 L.A. Lakers 33 1 20.6 .480 .000 .743 4.1 .8 .4 .9 10.1
1987–88 L.A. Lakers 80 0 25.1 .512 .000 .634 6.1 .8 .5 1.0 11.6
1988–89 L.A. Lakers 80 8 24.9 .559 .000 .678 5.8 .6 .7 .7 9.2
1989–90 L.A. Lakers 70 70 26.9 .500 .706 6.8 .6 .5 1.0 10.1
1990–91 L.A. Lakers 72 4 15.0 .496 .000 .705 3.2 .3 .3 .3 4.0
Career 935 454 29.7 .504 .083 .655 7.4 2.3 .7 1.1 13.7

Playoffs[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1979 Portland 3 40.3 .500 .500 10.3 2.0 .7 1.7 19.7
1981 Portland 3 44.0 .608 .722 7.7 1.3 1.0 3.0 25.0
1983 Portland 7 40.6 .471 .658 8.0 5.6 .9 1.1 15.0
1984 Portland 4 30.3 .500 .773 7.3 3.8 1.3 .8 15.3
1985 Portland 9 0 27.8 .490 .673 8.0 1.6 .8 1.3 14.8
1986 Portland 4 4 35.0 .574 .538 8.3 3.5 .3 .8 19.0
1987 L.A. Lakers 18 0 22.3 .453 .680 4.9 .5 .4 .9 8.8
1988 L.A. Lakers 24 0 25.6 .513 .581 7.1 .5 .7 .9 9.7
1989 L.A. Lakers 15 0 25.1 .508 .683 5.1 .7 .4 .8 11.4
1990 L.A. Lakers 9 8 25.0 .477 .615 4.3 .2 .2 1.4 6.4
1991 L.A. Lakers 8 0 5.3 .286 1.1 .0 .0 .4 .5
Career 104 12 26.0 .501 .648 6.0 1.2 .5 1.0 10.9

Post-NBA career[edit]

Thompson and his family moved back to Portland in 1991 after his career. He worked on local sports radio in the area. He and his family relocated back to Los Angeles in 2003 when he was offered a job as a color commentator for the Lakers. Thompson is currently employed as the Lakers radio color commentator. He first worked with Joel Meyers, then Spero Dedes, and is currently paired with John Ireland. He was a co-host on the "Loose Cannons" radio show on KLAC AM570 in Los Angeles but was let go, due to the move of Lakers broadcasts from AM570 to KSPN AM710 for the 2009–10 season. With the move to KSPN AM710, he joined Andrew Siciliano as co-hosts on the "LA Sports Live" radio show on KSPN AM710 until the show was canceled on December 26, 2010. On June 4, 2015, it was announced that Thompson would be teaming up with Mike Trudell as co-hosts on the show "Thompson & Trudell" on KSPN AM710 until the show was canceled on October 19, 2017.

Personal life[edit]

Thompson married his wife Julie in 1987,[6] and they have three sons, Mychel, Klay, and Trayce. Mychel briefly played in the NBA for the Cleveland Cavaliers, while Klay is a shooting guard for the Golden State Warriors and has won four NBA championships, and Trayce is an outfielder in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.

Thompson is nicknamed "sweet bells" after Walt Bellamy, who was nicknamed "bells."[7] Thompson's documentary about his life "Trailblazer: The Mychal Thompson Story" screened at Regal Cinemas at LA Live in Los Angeles on November 21, 2013.[8][9] Thompson's brother, Andrew (Andy) Thompson, was an executive producer of the Michael Jordan documentary mini-series The Last Dance.[10] Andy Thompson pitched Adam Silver the idea for the documentary while both were working for NBA Entertainment, knowing that Michael Jordan used to write his name as "Mychal Jordan" since he idolized Mychal Thompson.[11]

Thompson once implied he had interest in becoming Bahamian Prime Minister. Before he joined the NBA, some fans believed him to be the cousin of fellow NBA player (and basketball Hall of Fame member) David Thompson.[12] A street in Nassau leading to the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre was named "Mychal Thompson Boulevard" in his honor during 2015.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Amick, Sam. "For NBA teams, religion can be unifying or divisive". USA TODAY. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  2. ^ "About – Thompson Family Foundation".
  3. ^ Miami News, Oct. 30,1975
  4. ^ "Yao Ready For This?". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. June 25, 2002. Archived from the original on September 1, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
  5. ^ Thomas, Mike (August 23, 2021). "Larry Bird Was Miffed at the Spurs After a 1987 Midseason Trade With the Lakers". Sportscasting. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  6. ^ "Thompson & Trudell Show – PodCenter – ESPN Radio".
  7. ^ "Max & Marcellus: [hr2]".
  8. ^ "thebahamasweekly.com – ESPN hosts Bahamian film 'The Trailblazer' in Los Angeles".
  9. ^ "Trailblazer: The Mychal Thompson Story (2103) – IMDb".
  10. ^ "Banff World Media Festival 2022 – Andrew Thompson". Retrieved March 23, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "How 'The Last Dance' started with simple idea in '97". Tim Reynolds. The Associated Press. April 18, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2022 – via NBA.com.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ EDES, GORDON (February 22, 1987). "BAHAMAS' MAIN MAN : Mychal Thompson Someday Might Be the Prime Minister" – via LA Times.
  13. ^ Administrator. "Mychal Thompson honored with street in his name". Archived from the original on September 24, 2016. Retrieved October 29, 2015.

External links[edit]