Lakers’ Forgotten Studs: Mychael Thompson, the Big Man in the Big Moments – Fan’s Reflection

Veteran Big Man Mychael Thompson Delivered in the Big Moments in Helping the Lakers Win the 1987 and 1988 Titles

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Throughout the history of the Los Angeles Lakers there have been a number of standout players who will never have their numbers retired or have statues erected in their honor - call them the Lakers' Forgotten Studs.

As a Lakers fan I want to make sure their legacies are remembered.

Today's installment: Mychael Thompson

Life Before La-La Land

Thompson was the first overall pick in the 1978 draft by the Portland Trail Blazers and made the NBA All-Rookie 1st Team that year. He played six seasons in Portland and averaged 16.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.4 blocks as a Blazer.

Thompson was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in 1986. The Spurs then dealt the 6'10" forward-center to the Lakers during the 1987 season.

At age 32 Thompson was past his prime when he joined the Lakers, but that did not stop him from making a big impact when it mattered most.

The 1987 Title

Thompson played in 33 games for the Lakers in 1987 after the mid-season trade from San Antonio.

He meshed quickly with new teammates Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy. Thompson averaged 10.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks while shooting 50% from the field as a Laker in 1987.

But it was in the playoffs when Mychael Thompson made the biggest impact.

Thompson played a key reserve role in helping the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 4-2 in the 1987 Finals.

In Game 4 he went for 16 points and nine rebounds in a Lakers' victory. The Lakers lost Game 5 despite Thompson's 18 points and three boards. In the close-out Game 6 victory he delivered 15 points and nine rebounds as the Lakers clinched the title.

Thompson's averages in Games 4-6 of the 1987 finals were solid: 16.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 59% FG (16 of 27).

The 1988 Title

Mychael continued as a valuable role player in 1988 by averaging 25.1 minutes, 11.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 51% field goals during the regular season.

Thompson then had a solid 1988 playoffs as the Laker won their second consecutive title.

He singlehandedly destroyed the San Antonio Spurs in the Lakers' 3-0 first round sweep by averaging 20.7 points and 13.0 rebounds in the series while shooting 27-43 (63%) from the field.

In the second round the Lakers were pushed to seven games by the Utah Jazz as Thompson averaged 9.9 points and 9.7 rebounds to help the Lakers to a 4-3 series win.

In the Finals against the Detroit Pistons the Lakers overcame a 3-2 deficit to win in seven games. In Game 7 Thompson scored 12 points on 6-10 shooting in 22 minutes to help the Lakers win their second title in as many years.

In all Mychael Thompson spent four-plus years with the Lakers and waived by the team in 1991.

Mychael Thompson is not the most memorable player of the Showtime era, but he was an important player in capturing the 1987 and 1988 titles. His contributions should never be forgotten by Lakers fans.

Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, or check these out articles:

Lakers' Forgotten Studs: Eddie Jones, the Silky Assassin

Lakers' Forgotten Studs: Nick Van Exel and His Killer Swagger

Lakers' Forgotten Studs: Cedric Ceballos, Scoring Machine

Lakers' Forgotten Studs Archive: Rick Fox | Norm Nixon | Happy Hairston | Sedale Threatt | Elden Campbell | Bob McAdoo | Sam Perkins | Jim Chones | Rudy LaRusso | Dick Barnett | Walt Hazzard | Mel Counts | A.C Green

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