OAKLAND,Calif. (KGO) -- Services were held Monday for former Warrior great Nate Thurmond, who died earlier this month from leukemia. Ordinary citizens mingled with the Warriors head coach and former players to pay their respects.
On the day Thurmond would have turned 75, family and friends came to say goodbye. At Providence Baptist Church in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood, the congregation knew him simply as Brother Nate, a member of the men's ministry who sometimes joined the pastor at Juvenile Hall. "Nate spoke words of truth to those little rascals," Rev. Calvin Jones Jr. recalled.
The service was called a celebration of life and what a life it was. "Big Nate" was drafted by the Warriors in 1963 and became one of the legends of the NBA.
Former Warrior Chris Mullin says he'll miss his friend. "Very humble guy, shared his time, shared his thoughts, his wisdom," he said.
The Warriors retired Nate's number 42, but his relationship with the team endured. "When he spoke, people listened and he made an impact on our guys," Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said.
Former mayor and attorney Willie Brown negotiated Nate's NBA contracts. "He never ever wanted to do anything other than play basketball and run restaurants," Brown said.
Ah, yes. Big Nate's BBQ.
For us here at ABC7, he was a special friend, joining Sports Director Larry Biel and former Warrior Adonal Foyle for game analysis. "For me, I'll always be grateful watching the games with him at ABC7, and seeing the games through his eyes," Foyle said.
NThurmond leaves behind his wife Marci, his son Adam, and numerous fans.
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