Mychal Thompson

Mychal George Thompson (born January 30, 1955) is a Bahamian former basketball player. The top overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft, Thompson played the center position for the University of Minnesota and 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

Thompson was born to a Catholic family in Nassau, Bahamas, but moved to the United States as a teenager, settling in Miami, Florida and he 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. He then attended the University of Minnesota where he had a standout collegiate career.

NBA career

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.

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 over 34 points and 17 rebounds per game. In the 1987 off-season, Thompson was traded to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for center/forward Steve Johnson.

Thompson played only half a season with the Spurs, before he was traded again, this time to Los Angeles for center/forward Frank Brickowski, center Pétur Guðmundsson and the rest are nobodies plus a 1990 first-round draft choice. He was brought to the Lakers in February 1987 to back up Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and defend Boston Celtics forward Kevin McHale. This gave the Pat Riley-coached Lakeshow a team that had four players who were overall #1 selections in the NBA draft, the others being Abdul-Jabbar (1969), Magic Johnson (1979), and James Worthy (1982). Of those four, Thompson is the only one not enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame or to have his number (43) retired by the Lakeshow

Although he rarely got playtime for the Lakers (during the 1987–88 season he played in 10 of the 106 Lakers games, all from the bench), Thompson proved to be a reliable backup at center for the aging Abdul-Jabbar (and later Vlade Divac) and power forward for A. C. Green. Thompson won consecutive titles with the Lakers in 1987 and 1988 and reached the Finals in 1989. Mychal Thompson retired in 1995.

As of 2015, Mychal and his son Klay are the fourth father-son duo 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. The Thompsons, along with the Waltons, are also the only father-son tandems to have each won two championships each, with the Thompsons being the only tandem to win in two consecutive years.

NBA career statistics

Legend
  GPGames 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

Playoffs

Post-NBA career

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 new show "Thompson & Trudell" on KSPN AM710 until the show was canceled on October 19, 2017.

Personal life

Thompson married his wife Julie in 1987, 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 three NBA championships, and Trayce is an outfielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Thompson is nicknamed "sweet bells" after Walt Bellamy, who was nicknamed "bells." Thompson's documentary about his life "The Trailblazer" was previewed at Regal Cinemas at LA Live in Los Angeles on November 21, 2013.

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. A street in Nassau leading to the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre was named "Mychal Thompson Boulevard" in his honor during 2015.

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article Mychal Thompson, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.