Skip to main content

Michael Jordan talks about David Thompson, his favorite player growing up

Michael Jordan breaks down why his idol growing up David Thompson would be even better in today's NBA
Michael Jordan breaks down why his favorite player growing David Thompson would be great in today's NBA

David Thompson is a name unknown to younger NBA fans but he was the original highflyer in the NBA and Michael Jordan's idol

Many NBA fans today have never heard of David Thompson, but he was the original high flyer in the league and a player with one of the highest measured vertical leaps ever recorded at 48 inches. On top of that, he was a great scorer and made quite an impact during his time with the Denver Nuggets, for whom he played for seven seasons. Thompson was one of the most popular ABA/NBA stars back in the day, and his playing style inspired many at that time because he was doing things people didn't think were even possible.

Jordan's favorite player growing up

Michael Jordan is one of the players that was inspired when watching Thompson play as a kid, and in an older interview, he talked about whether Thompson would be able to play in the NBA today. Jordan, who always paid attention to details, said Thompson would be a significant problem for many guards in the NBA because of the combination of his incredible offensive repertoire and tremendous explosiveness.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

“He would be a force to reckon with. His scoring abilities, his uniqueness, creativity I think, would give a totally different dimension to our team without a doubt. His scoring abilities, he would definitely be a treat. At 6’4″, what he could do, I think, it marveled a lot of people.To be honest, a lot of my guys don’t remember David Thompson, but I do. The whole alley-oop term, he created. So he would definitely be a force to be reckoned with.”

Michael Jordan

Thompson would fit really well in today's NBA

Jordan shared what it takes to guard a player like Thompson, who regularly dropped 30 on any given night. Thompson was listed at 6'4," which Jordan believes would use to his advantage when trying to guard him, even though he admits that would probably be a more challenging task than it looks.

"It would be tough. First, I would have to study his weaknesses, and right now, I wouldn't know what his weaknesses would be. He was a great jump shooter, had great leaping ability. One way I would play him is physical, try to use my size as much as possible, and force him to his weaker hand and hope I can contain him and have a hand in his face.I guess if I'm guarding him, the best defense is a stellar offense. I would make sure he pays on the other end and take some energy from his offense."

Michael Jordan

Thompson made five all-star appearances in his relatively short career that was cut short because of injuries and, later on, severe drug addictions. During the 1979/80 season, he suffered from loneliness and isolation, which affected his extensive drug abuse. Thompson sustained a career-ending injury, after which he got into a fight at a nightclub, and soon after, his basketball playing days were long gone at the age of 30. Luckily for him, he got sober and dedicated his life to helping others who suffered from similar problems and is now working as a motivational speaker. Thompson got inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006 and was one of the players who introduced Jordan when he entered the Hall of Fame in 2009.

Willy Hernangomez says Zion Williamson is on a mission this season

Willy Hernangomez offers a frightening take on Zion Williamson ahead of this season -“He wants to destroy everybody”

Hernangomez said Williamson "wants to destroy everybody" in his return to the court after missing the entire 2021-22 season

James Harden said that his explosiveness is getting there after it was noticeably absent during his stint with the Sixers last season

James Harden and his quest to regain his explosiveness for the Philadelphia 76ers: "It's getting there"

Harden clearly wasn't himself during his first few months with the 76ers, but the good news is that he believes his explosiveness is getting back to what it used to be

Dirk Nowitzki at the 1998 Nike Hoop Summit

"Between practices I had to get tutoring in a separate room" - Dirk Nowitzki used to bring a tutor with him while traveling with Germany's junior national team

Dirk Nowitzki revealed that he had to bring a private tutor with him during his days with Germany's junior national team as he had to play and study at the same time.

Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson

"Are you willing to come back and be a coachable player?"-How Phil Jackson talked to Kobe Bryant before they reunited in 2006

The time Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson spent apart from each other made them realize that they needed each other to accomplish their goals.

Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky

Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky outearns several NBA players

Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky is closer to making a million each year than some NBA players on minimum contracts.


“I know he’s a great locker room guy!”- Ben Wallace believes Darvin Ham will do great things with the Lakers

Darvin Ham and Ben Wallace won a title together and their bond will forever remain tight.