Mychal George Thompson (born January 30, 1955) is a retired Bahamian basketball player. He played the power forward and center positions for the University of Minnesota and the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, and Los Angeles Lakers. He is the father of basketball players Klay Thompson, and Mychel Thompson, and baseball player Trayce Thompson.
Early life Edit
Thompson was born in Nassau, Bahamas, but moved to the United States as a youth, settling in Miami, Florida and he attended Miami Jackson Senior High School. In his senior year in 1974 as part of a 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 Edit
The Portland Trail Blazers made 6'10" (208 cm) Thompson the number one pick in the 1978 NBA draft, the first foreign-born player to be selected first.
Thompson was a fixture in the Portland lineup for eight years (though one season was missed due to injury), where he started at both power forward and center positions. He was named to the 1979 All-Rookie team, and had arguably his statistically best season in 1981–82, where he averaged over 20 points and 11 rebounds per game. In the 1986 off-season, Thompson was traded to the Spurs 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 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 Lakers 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 Lakers.
Although he rarely started for the Lakers (in 1987–88 he played in 104 of the 106 games the Lakers played, all from the bench), Thompson proved more than a capable back up for the aging Abdul-Jabbar (and later Vlade Divac) and also played at power forward, forming a good relationship with Magic Johnson and helping the Lakers win consecutive titles in 1987 and 1988 while reaching the Finals in 1989.
As of 2017, Mychal and his son, Klay Thompson, 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 Waltons are the only father-son tandem to have each won two championships (as of May 2017, prior to the completion of the championship between Klay Thompson's Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers).
Mychal Thompson retired in 1991.
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. Mychal 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.
As of 2011, he co-hosts ESPNLA NOW, on KSPN AM 710 from 10am-noon on weekdays. His partner Mark Willard was let go by the station on August 29, 2014; he is now partnered with Mike Trudell.
Personal life Edit
Thompson married his wife Julie in 1987. His oldest son, Mychel, played basketball for Pepperdine University and made his NBA debut with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2012. His middle son, Klay, played basketball for Washington State University and was selected with the 11th pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors who won the 2015 and 2017 NBA Finals. His youngest son, Trayce, plays baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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.
- Jump up^ Miami News,Oct. 30,1975
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- Mychal Thompson stats at Basketball Reference
- LA Sports Live with Mychael Thompson and Andrew Siciliano at ESPN.com