Nate Thurmond Bio: Early Life, NBA, Retirement & Death

There is a famous quote, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” set by Nelson Mandela.

And this seems completely applicable to Nate Thurmond‘s life, a marked athlete who falls under the top 50 NBA players of all time.

Pretty much eminent as Nate the Great among his fans, Nate is a former basketball player who gave his precious fourteen years to the NFL.

Not to mention, Nate has played for the Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers in his NBA career.

The strong power forward Nate has already remained an NBA All-Star seven times. In addition, he is the first player to score a quadruple-double in a game in NBA history.

Not only that, there are many other awards and honors highlighted in his list of successes. We will surely get back to all of that.

Nate Thurmond
Nate Thurmond

Besides that, his physique was praise-worthy. He was very ripped and quite strong. Nate Thurmond is remembered for more than basketball. 

He was also on an entrepreneurial trip for a certain time, where he went on to open a restaurant, Big Nate’s BBQ. Well, certainly, there are more things to explore the man, Nate Thurmond.

But before that, let’s have a smart sneak peek into the must-know quick facts about Nate  Thurmond.

Nate Thurmond | Quick Facts

Full NameNathaniel Thurmond
Birth DateJuly 25, 1941 – July 16, 2016
Birth PlaceAkron, Ohio
Nick NameNate the Great
ReligionNot Known
NationalityAmerican
EthnicityBlack
EducationCentral Hower High School, Bowling Green State University
HoroscopeLeo
Father’sNameAndrew Thurmond
Mother’sNameLeala Thurmond
SiblingsBen Thurmond
Died at75 years old
Height6 feet 11 inches (2.11m)
Weight225 lb (102 kg)
Shoe Size19 US or 18.5 UK
Hair ColorBlack
Eye ColorBlack
Place of DeathSan Francisco, California, US
BuildAthlete
Marital StatusMarried to Marci Thurmond
KidAdam Thurmond
PositionCenter/ Power Forward
ProfessionNBA player, Entrepreneur, Community Relation Ambassador
Net Worthmore than $10 million
MerchandiseRookie Card, Autographed Photo, Workout Clothes
Teams Played forGolden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers
LeagueNBA
Active Since1963 to 1977
Social MediaNot available
Last UpdateJuly, 2022

Nate Thurmond | Early Life and Career

On July 25, 1941, Nate was born to his parents, Andrew Thurmond and Leala Thurmond, in Akron, Ohio. He also had a brother by his side, Ben Thurmond.

Nate was a skinny child from the beginning. He was an American by nationality and had black ethnicity.

He enrolled in Akron’s Central High School, where he played basketball and accompanied by Gus Johnson, an NBA star.

Nate was offered a scholarship offer from Ohio State to serve as a backup to Jerry Lucas, a high school rival.

But, he passed on that offer as he did not want to be a backup. Instead, he opted to play college basketball at Bowling Green.

Nate Thurmond posing for camera
Nate Thurmond in 2012

Nate was a strong contender when it came to sore rebounds. He led the Mid-American Conference

in rebounds during all three of his varsity seasons. He was also titled first-team All-American by The Sporting News in 1963.

Not only that, he headed his team to the NCAA tournament and broke the college record with 31 rebounds.

Nate Thurmond | Professional Career

San Francisco/Golden State Warriors

Nate started his NBA career with Golden State Warriors when he got drafted in the 1963 NBA draft. 

Not to mention, Nate was the third overall pick in the first round. So he got to play a supporting role alongside Wilt Chamberlain, the Hall of Fame center, as a rookie player.

He also was entitled to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1964.

Nate emerged as a highly charismatic starting center for the Warriors in his second year. We guess breaking records in rebounds became his forte as he again set the record for rebounds in a quarter with 18 during his regular second season.

He captured the second spot next to Chamberlian in the MVP for the 1966-67 season.

Nate also played in the seven NBA All-Star Games. Well, he not only got stuck to excelling in rebounds but was an extremist defender. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar claimed him as the toughest defender he has ever faced in his professional career.

Bob Rule, NBA All-Star center, clearly remembers the moment when Nate blocked all of his six shots on seven during his first encounter.

His coach directed Bob saying, ” Keep putting them up. He cannot block them all.” And Bob reciprocated, saying, ” Yeah, well, if I hadn’t made that layup, it would have been all of them.”

Chicago Bulls

Thurmond was moved to the Chicago Bulls in place of Clifford Ray in 1974. The Bull was in an optimum realization that needs a power-packed starting center, which made them hire him.

In his first game against the Atlanta Hawks with the Bulls, he notched 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, and 12 blocked shots. And that was the very moment he became the first player to record a quadruple-double.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Nate was again traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Steve Patterson and Eric Fernsten on November 27.

Nate Thurmond | Career Stats

YearGPGSMPGFG%3P%FT%RPGAPGSPGBPGPPG
Career96437.2.421.66715.02.7.52.115.0
All-Star5220.8.326.3758.8.4.0.06.2

Career Highlights and Accomplishments

  • Nate is the first player to record a quadruple-double in NBA history.
  • He also set the record for rebounds in a quarter.
  • Nate is a seven-time NBA All-Star and also a two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team.
  • He is a three-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
  • He is a three-time First-team All-Mac.
  • Nate’s Jersey No. 42 got retired by Golden State Warriors in 1978.
  • Again his jersey No. 42 got retired by Cleveland Cavaliers later.
  • He is a Consensus second-team All-American for the year 1963.
  • Nate was titled an NBA All-Rookie First Team in the year 1964.
  • Thurmond is one of five players in NBA history to notch at least 15 rebounds per game for his career.

Nate Thurmond | Retirement and Death

After his retirement, he moved back to San Francisco, where Nate lived with his wife Marci and his kid, Adam.  He also applied his hands-on opening a restaurant, Big Nate’s BBQ, which got sold after 20 years.

Seems like he is in his restaurant
Seems like he is in his restaurant

Well, according to the sources, the Chase Center, which is the homeplace for the Golden State Warriors, features a Big Nate’s BBQ kiosk with dishes to pay tribute to his NBA career.

Nate was also titled  “Warriors Legend & Ambassador” by the Warriors organization.

Remembered for more than basketball

The ultimate tragedy occurred on July 16, 2016, when he left us with big footprints in our hearts after battling Leukemia.

It was just nine days away from his 75th birthday. The memorial service took place at Providence Baptist Church.

It just left all of his fans, his family, his beloved ones speechless. The former Warrior star Chris Mullin stood outside the church and said, “He was just sort of a humble, regular guy. He is just someone you always felt good being around.”

Nate with his wife, Marci
Nate with his wife, Marci

There were famous warrior players in the memorial like Mullin, Steve Kerr, Al Attles, Tom Meschery, and former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown.

The sources also claim that Nate decided on this service a few months before he died. He planned on from speakers to music. Also, songs like “If Nothing Else, Thank You,” “Amazing Grace,” “You’ve been so Faithful” were played to keep the mood light.

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The representer of Good Tidings Foundation, Larry Harper, recalled Nate’s help in building courts for low-income communities.

He was such a beautiful soul that the foundation now features a Nate Thurmond Award for community service.

God blessed him with a big body that was not only meant for basketball but to make space for his enormous heart. Nate is survived by his wife Marci and his son Adam and his nieces and nephews.

The Great Nate
The Great Nate

Melissa Najda, one of his nieces, spoke on behalf of the whole family and ended the farewell ceremony tearfully with Nate’s quote.

“Long after they’ve forgotten the last hook shot or blocked shot, if you’re a good person, to me, that’s the most important thing.”

Nate won everyone’s heart with the aggressive shot blocks and rebounds that he scored on the court.

Not only that, he was a pure soul. He maintained class and dignity as a  player and community relations ambassador for more than four decades.

Our heart goes out to his wife and kid. May his family have the power to overcome the unbearable loss. His legacy will surely be carried on forever.

Nate Thurmond | Net Worth

Well, we will talk about the net worth that Nate had before he passed away. According to the information provided on the internet, Nate offered the best blend of offense and defense in basketball history.

Nate was as quick as anything, with long arms, strong athleticism, powerful blocking capacity, hardcore rebounding.

He nailed it all from any angle. Working more than four decades as a player and as an ambassador, he surely has reached the heights of success.

If we align as per online sources,

Nate Thurmond had a net worth of more than $10 million when he was alive.

Nate Thurmond | Social Media Presence

Sadly, we did not find any of his authentic social media accounts. Late Nate Thurmond was not available on social media.

There is a Twitter account on his name, but that does not show an authentic mark. Thus, we are still not aware of the fact that it is his account or not.

Any of the ways, no matter he remained active on social media or not, Nate is always going to stay alive in our hearts.

You can also search for Nate Thurmond Quotes on the internet and have plenty to read.

Lastly, do give a read to an article on yet another legend of basketball, Kobe Bryant.

Nate Thurmond | Frequently Asked Questions

Is Nate Thurmond a Hall of Famer?

Yes, Nate was introduced to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985.

When did Nate actually take retirement?

Nate took retirement after the 1976-77 season when he headed his team, Cavaliers, to the Eastern Conference Finals.

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