A brilliant but brief career. He brought down John Wooden and Bill Walton and won an NCAA championship which is a great legacy, but he will always be remembered for his 1978 battle with the Iceman for the scoring title.
As great as David Thompson was, his career was not quite as awesome as it could have been. Without a doubt it was much shorter than it should have been. A perilous addiction to cocaine corroded then ruined his promising and amazing talent. It scuttled prematurely one of basketball’s best shooting guards between the reigns of Jerry West and Michael Jordan.
But enough of what could, would, and should have been. What David Thompson accomplished is still remarkable and noteworthy.
Drafted by the Atlanta Hawks, Thompson spurned the NBA for the dazzling Denver Nuggets of the ABA. It wasn’t just a great move from an artistic and financial standpoint, it was a great “basketball” decision. The Hawks had the third-worst record in the NBA in 1974-75 season and would follow that up with the second-worst record in the 1975-76 season. In contrast, the Denver Nuggets in 1976 boasted high-scoring center
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