David Thompson (basketball)

David O'Neil Thompson ( born July 13, 1954 in Shelby, North Carolina ) is a retired American professional basketball player. He played as a forward with the Denver Nuggets and Seattle SuperSonics in the NBA. Because of his jumping ability, he was also called " Skywalker ".

Early years and college

Thompson grew up in rural North Carolina. He lived with his parents and ten brothers and about 40 miles from Charlotte (North Carolina) away. His father was a priest, and both parents were cleaning the building in order to make money. Thompson's passion was basketball, and he soon established himself as one of the best youth players in the United States. He was on his entrance into the college league NCAA in 1971 basketball team at North Carolina State University as a great talent. He was famous for its bounce and could, among other things a coin from the top edge of the backboard down pick. Since then, the Dunking was banned in the college leagues, he specialized in the alley oop maneuver in which he began in high face-offs Kempa Trick manner far above the basket and had controlled fall through the trap.

After Thompson had led his team as a sophomore undefeated through the regular season, won the "Wolf Pack " team from North Carolina in the year, surprising the national title. With Thompson, the Wolfpack won the semi-final against the hochfavorisierte team of UCLA ( seven titles in a row) with center Bill Walton in the second extension, said Thompson scored the decisive basket. Although the title defense failed in his last year of college, Thompson was able to look back on an impressive college career in which he three vocations to the All-American team, won two awards for Best College Player of the Year and the NCAA title together with MVP Award fetched.


In the summer of 1975, Thompson caused a novelty, since he was bound in both the NBA and the former ABA League competition at number 1. Thompson ended up with the Denver Nuggets of the ABA and immediately won the ABA Rookie of the Year and the ABA All-Star MVP title. With the Nuggets Thompson reached the last ABA Finals in 1976, where he failed at the New York Nets ABA superstar Julius Erving.

The Denver Nuggets were one of four teams, which were taken in the merger of the ABA with the NBA in 1976, in the NBA. Thompson was successful with 25.9 points in the season average in the NBA. In the All-Star selection Thompson received, inter alia, the with a dunk over his old rival Bill Walton the Backboard zertrümmte, the most votes. With the release of the first Star Wars film Thompson, who " could walk through the air " literally at his dunks got inspired by the Jedi Luke, missed the nickname " Skywalker ".

In the league history was 1978, the scoring race between Thompson and George Gervin of the San Antonio Spurs one. Gervin was before the last game with a fraction of a meter in front of the point - cut Thompson. Both the Nuggets and the Spurs could throw their leading scorer, they were worth, and Thompson scored 73 points against the Detroit Pistons (53 in the first half). However, Gervin scored 63 points and won his part very thinly ( 27.22 points per game against 27.15 ) the basketball player title.

The Nuggets traded for Thompson then a five- year contract over 4 million U.S. dollars, which Thompson made ​​the highest-paid player in the NBA. However, he began from that point more headlines next to the sports to make. Drug abuse and injuries beat on his basketball career. Although he was on the field keep the high level (22 points per game ), but he was always undisciplined and missed training sessions and team meetings. In 1979, he was still able to win the MVP award at the All -Star Games, which he was the only player who has ever won the NBA All- Star Game Most Valuable Player Award in the NBA and ABA. In the following years he deteriorated continuously. After 1981, he made ​​only 15 points per game, he attended a rehabilitation clinic. After moving to the Seattle SuperSonics, he played there for two seasons with only 12 points per game. At a party in transition infamous Studio 54 he fell down a flight of stairs and zertrümmte the knee, which meant the end of his career.

He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball 1996 Hall of Fame and in 1997 into the " ABA All- Time Team ".