In the 1966 season, the NBA had 10 teams: Philadelphia, Boston, Cincinnati, New York, Baltimore, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Detroit.
Consider this: Philly had Wilt Chamberlain, Boston had Bill Russell, Cincinnati had Wayne Embry, New York had Willis Reed, St. Louis had Zelmo Beaty and the Warriors had Nate Thurmond.
In a few years, Wes Unseld and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would show up.
Big men didn’t get many nights off, in other words. In an era of greats, Nate Thurmond held his own.
Drafted by the Warriors in 1963, Thurmond was not as good as Russell or Chamberlain, but who was?
He held his own though, averaging 22 rebounds in 1967-68 and constantly challenging the great big men of his era. He had 18 rebounds in one quarter and registered the NBA’s first quadruple double.
It would be impossible not to be overshadowed by the likes of Chamberlain, Russell and Abdul-Jabbar Thurmond thrived despite the lack of attention. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985, 11 years before he passed away from leukemia.