This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification . (June 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Thorn from The Monticola, 1963
|Born||May 23, 1941|
Princeton, West Virginia
|Listed height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Listed weight||195 lb (88 kg)|
|High school||Princeton (Princeton, West Virginia)|
|College||West Virginia (1960–1963)|
|NBA draft||1963 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall|
|Selected by the Baltimore Bullets|
|Position||Point guard / Shooting guard|
|Number||44, 10, 22|
|1965–1967||St. Louis Hawks|
|1975–1976||Spirits of St. Louis|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Points||5,012 (10.8 ppg)|
|Rebounds||1,463 (3.1 rpg)|
|Assists||1,214 (2.6 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame|
Rodney King Thorn (born May 23, 1941) is an American basketball executive and a former professional player and coach, Olympic Committee Chairman, with a career spanning over 50 years. In 2018, Thorn was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Thorn attracted nationwide attention after a high school basketball career at Princeton High School in his hometown of Princeton, West Virginia that saw him average more than 30 points per game as a senior. He was a three-time all-state selection and was a two-time High School All-American.
Thorn was also a highly regarded high school baseball player, before a head injury took him away from the sport for a time.
Thorn was looking at colleges, including Duke University, when the West Virginia State Legislature passed a resolution designating Thorn as a state Natural Resource. This in order to persuade him to emulate native Jerry West and attend West Virginia University. Thorn did just that.
Thorn attended West Virginia University. He wore #44, the same number as Jerry West, who had just graduated.At WVU, he was an All-American guard in basketball, as well as playing three seasons on the WVU baseball team.
In 1960-1961, as a sophomore (freshman could not play varsity in his era), Thorn averaged 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists for Coach George King and the 23-4 West Virginia Mountaineers men's basketball team.
Thorn improved and West Virginia finished 24-6 in 1961-1962. The Mountaineers were invited to the 1962 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament, where they lost to Villanova 90-75.Thorn averaged 23.7 points and 12.1 rebounds. He was the Southern Conference Player of the Year and a 2nd Team All-American selection, beside John Havlicek of Ohio State University, among others.
In 1962-1963, Thorn averaged 22.5 points and 9.0 rebounds as a senior. West Virginia finished 23-8 and qualified for the 1963 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament. In the NCAA's, they defeated Connecticut 77-71, as Thorn had 17 points and 7 rebounds. Thorn was outstanding in the Mountaineers' 97-88 loss to St. Josephs, scoring 44 points in a 96-88 loss. He then scored 33 points with 9 rebounds in a 83-73 win over New York University in the East Region 3rd place game, his final collegiate game.Thorn was again selected as a 2nd Team All-American beside Bill Bradley, among others.
Overall, Thorn averaged 21.8 points and 11.1 rebounds in 81 games during his three seasons at West Virginia.
Thorn was the No. 2 overall pick of the 1963 NBA draft, drafted by the Baltimore Bullets.
In his rookie season 1963-1964, Thorn was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team averaging 14.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the Bullets under Hall of Fame Coach Slick Leonard.
Following his first season, Thorn was traded on June 18, 1964. Baltimore traded Thorn, with Terry Dischinger and Don Kojis to the Detroit Pistons for Bob Ferry, future Hall of Famer Bailey Howell, Les Hunter, Wali Jones and Don Ohl. In 1964-1965, Thorn averaged 10.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists for the Pistons. The team didn't make the playoffs under Charles Wolf (2-9) and 24 year old player/coach Dave DeBusschere (29-40).
Detroit, with Thorn averaging 13.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists, traded him on December 24, 1965. The Pistons sent Thorn to the St. Louis Hawks for John Tresvant and Chico Vaughn. Thorn averaged 8.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 46 games with the Hawks as a reserve. Playing alongside Future Hall of Famers Richie Guerin (player/coach), Zelmo Beaty, Lenny Wilkins and Cliff Hagan, as well as Joe Caldwell, Paul Silas and Bill Bridges, Thorn saw his minutes reduced. The Hawks lost the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Division Finals 4-3 after having beaten Baltimore 3-0 to advance.
In 1966-1967, Thorn averaged 8.8 points and 2.4 rebounds for the Hawks as they added Lou Hudson and finished 39-42. The Hawks defeated the expansion Chicago Bulls 3-0 in the playoffs, before losing to the San Francisco Warriors with Rick Barry and Nate Thurmond 4-2 in the Western Division finals. Thorn averaged 10.2 points in the series.
On May 1, 1967, Thorn was drafted by the expansion Seattle SuperSonics from the St. Louis Hawks in the NBA expansion draft. He concluded his career as a player with the Seattle SuperSonics (1967–1971).
Thorn averaged a career high 15.2 points with 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists, in 1967-1968, as the expansion SuperSonics finished 23-58 under Coach Al Bianchi.
The SuperSonics improved to 30-52 in 1968-1969, with Thorn averaging 11.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists at age 27.
Thorn's teammate from St. Louis, Lenny Wilkins became the player/Coach of the SuperSonics in 1969-1970 and the team improved to 36-46, in Wilkins' first Coaching season. Wilkins would lead the SuperSonics to the NBA Championship in 1979, and would coach in the NBA until 2005, winning 1332 games in 32 seasons.Injured, Thorn averaged 2.9 points in 19 games.
In 1970-1971, Thorn finished his playing career, playing in 63 games off the bench, averaging 5.6 points and 2.9 assists for the 38-44 SuperSonics.
Overall, in eight NBA seasons, Thorn averaged 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 466 games.
In 1971–72, Thorn joined his former teammate and coach Lenny Wilkins as an assistant with the SuperSonics and the team finished 47-35.
In 1973, former teammate Kevin Loughery was head coach and hired Thorn as assistant coach of the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association for $15,000.The Nets then won the 1974 ABA championship, led by Julius Erving.
Thorn was hired the head coach of the Spirits of St. Louis with then-star Marvin Barnes for the 1975–76 ABA season. The Spirits' roster also included Hall of Famer Moses Malone, Caldwell Jones, Mike D'Antoni, Gus Gerard, Maurice Lucas, Ron Boone, M.L. Carr and Don Chaney But, after a 20-27 start he was fired in December, 1975 and replaced by Joe Mullaney.
Thorn had discipline issues with Barnes. "Marvin would come late for everything,” Thorn said years later. “You couldn’t depend on him. He’d say, ‘I’m giving you 24 and 12 every night. You better talk to the others.’ He’d come late on purpose to show, ‘You don’t control me. I’m in charge.'"
Thorn returned to the New York Nets and Loughery as an assistant coach when the franchise joined the NBA in 1976-1977. The team had been forced to move Erving to the Philadelphia 76ers and was playing with a depleted roster. Thorn left the position after the 1977-1978 season to move to the front office in Chicago.
In 1978, Thorn became the general manager of the Chicago Bulls and served in that role until March, 1985. Thorn hired Jerry Sloan as Head Coach, drafted Reggie Theus and had Artis Gilmore in the middle. Thorn replaced Sloan on the bench to finish the 1981-1982 season (15-15).
In 1984, he famously oversaw team's selection of Michael Jordan with the No. 3 pick of the 1984 NBA draft.(he also selected track star Carl Lewis, with the draft on the eve of the 1984 Olympic Games, simply for patriotic publicity purposes).
Thorn negated numerous trade offers for the Bulls' No. 3 pick in 1984. There was maneuvering for Jordan to go to Philadelphia where North Carolina star Billy Cunningham was the 76ers coach. There was further speculation Thorn might select Jordan's North Carolina’s teammate Sam Perkins, (who was drafted at No. 4), because the Bulls had recently selected shooting guards in previous drafts and Thorn had just traded All-Star Reggie Theus. However, Thorn drafted Jordan, and the Bulls' foundation was in place.
Thorn hired Kevin Loughery as head coach and the team struggled with youth. Thorn left the Bulls when he and Loughery were fired in March, 1985 and new owner Jerry Reinsdorf hired Jerry Krause as G.M..
From 1986 to 2000 Thorn was the NBA's Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, serving as the league's chief disciplinarian.
Thorn chaired the USA Basketball Men's National Team Selection Committee in 1992, 1996 and 2000. The "Dream Team" for the 1992 Summer Olympics (Barcelona) was assembled and the committee put together the Olympic gold-medal USA teams in 1996 and 2000.
Thorn rejoined the Nets organization on June 2, 2000, and he was named the NBA Executive of the Year in 2002 after the Nets advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.During the 2010 offseason, Rod Thorn announced he would step down from the Nets' organization.
On August 11, 2010, Thorn was hired as president of the 76ers, taking over the title from Ed Stefanski, who remained with the team as the general manager.
On October 18, 2011, prior to a press conference introducing the 76ers' new ownership group, it was announced that Stefanski was leaving the organization and Thorn would be both president and general manager. In 2012, Tony DiLeo was named the team's general manager, but Thorn retained his title as president.
On July 10, 2013, the National Basketball Association announced that Rod Thorn had been named President of Basketball Operations, effective August 1, after Stu Jackson decided to step down.
On April 26, 2014 Thorn, on behalf of the NBA, suspended Wizard Nene Hilario from game 4 of the first round of the NBA playoffs.
In 2015, Thorn briefly retired from the NBA.
In 2015, Thorn, semi-retired, became a Special Consultant for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Of his career, “I’ve been unbelievably fortunate to be in the right place so many times,” said Thorn. “To come from a place with 7,000 people sometimes you pinch yourself and think, ‘Wow, how fortunate I’ve been.’ When I played we got $8 in meal money. We were like a barnstorming league. I can remember playing 16 straight days in preseason in one little high school after the next. You couldn’t tell me the NBA would end up where it is and I would be a first hand witness to so many great things. That’s one of the things I’m proudest of, just being on the scene and sometimes having a little something to do with what transpired. It’s been a lot of fun.”
He graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in political science while playing and coaching for the SuperSonics.
Thorn and his wife, Peggy, have a son, Jonathan, and twin daughters, Amanda and Jessica.
“I’m not sure there are any others who have the hard earned understanding of the game,” former NBA commissioner David Stern said about Thorn. “People forget he drafted Michael Jordan, forget the Nets (under Thorn) were in the Finals two years in a row (after he pulled off the Jason Kidd trade), forget he was with the 76ers when they beat the Bulls in the playoffs as an eighth seed. He has a unique background and a unique personal approach.”
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Moses Eugene Malone was an American basketball player who played in both the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1974 through 1995. A center, he was named the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times, was a 12-time NBA All-Star and an eight-time All-NBA Team selection. Malone led the Philadelphia 76ers to an NBA championship in 1983, winning both the league and Finals MVP. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2001.
Robert Allen McAdoo is an American former professional basketball player and coach. He played 14 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA), where he was a five-time NBA All-Star and named the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1975. He won two NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers during their Showtime era in the 1980s. In 2000, McAdoo was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Jack Wayne Sikma is an American former professional basketball center. He was a seven-time NBA All-Star with the Seattle SuperSonics, who drafted him in the first round with the eighth overall pick of the 1977 NBA draft. In 1979, he won an NBA championship with Seattle. Sikma finished his playing career with the Milwaukee Bucks. He was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.
Steven Charles Mix, nicknamed The Mayor, is an American former professional basketball player and coach. Mix had a thirteen year playing career, was an NBA All-Star and played in the NBA Finals on four occasions. He had a lengthy career as a broadcaster for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Thomas Doane Chambers is an American retired National Basketball Association (NBA) player. Chambers played basketball professionally from 1981 to 1997. Playing power forward in the NBA, Chambers was selected to four All-Star Games during his career. Of all former NBA players that are eligible for election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Chambers and Antawn Jamison are the only two players to have scored 20,000 or more career points without being elected to the Hall.
Reginald Wayne Theus is an American retired basketball player and the former head coach of California State University, Northridge. He formerly served as head coach for the NBA's Sacramento Kings and New Mexico State University's men's basketball team. He was also an assistant coach for the University of Louisville under Rick Pitino.
Louis Clyde Hudson was an American National Basketball Association (NBA) player, who was an All-American at the University of Minnesota and a six-time NBA All-Star, scoring 17,940 total points in 13 NBA seasons (1966–1979).
Terry Gilbert Dischinger is a retired American basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Dischinger was a 3-time NBA All-Star and the 1963 NBA Rookie of the Year, after averaging 28 points per game in his three seasons at Purdue University.
Gregory Ballard was an American professional basketball player and NBA assistant coach. A collegiate All-American at Oregon, Ballard averaged 12.4 points and 6.1 rebounds over an eleven season NBA career with the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors and briefly, the Seattle Supersonics.
The 1967–68 NBA season was the 22nd season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Boston Celtics winning the NBA Championship, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.
Robert Kauffman was an American professional basketball player and coach. Kaufmann was a three time NBA All-Star.
Bailey E. Howell is an American former professional basketball player. After playing college basketball at Mississippi State, Howell played 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Howell was a 6-time NBA All-Star, 2-time NBA Champion and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Allan Mercer Bristow, Jr. is a retired American professional basketball player, coach, and executive. Bristow played college basketball at Virginia Tech, and was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the 1973 NBA draft. A 6 ft 7 in, 210 lb (95 kg) forward, he had a 10-year career in both the NBA and the ABA, playing for the Sixers, the San Antonio Spurs, the Utah Jazz, and finishing his playing career with the Dallas Mavericks. His nickname was "Disco".
Bobby Frank Rule was an American basketball player at center for the National Basketball Association's Seattle SuperSonics, Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and briefly, the Milwaukee Bucks.
Ronnie Lester is an American retired basketball player and basketball executive. Lester was an NCAA All-American at the University of Iowa, leading Iowa to the 1980 NCAA Final Four. Lester was a member of the 1979 USA Basketball team that won the Gold Medal in the 1979 Pan-American Games. Lester was the No. 10 overall selection in the first round of the 1980 NBA Draft. After an injury-filled career, which included winning an NBA title with the 1985 Los Angeles Lakers, Lester worked as a scout for the Lakers, and eventually became the team's assistant general manager. After leaving the Lakers after 24 years, with seven NBA titles in his tenure with the team, Lester was a scout for the Phoenix Suns from 2011 to 2015.
Willard Leon "Willie" Sojourner was an American collegiate and professional basketball player and international coach. He played collegiately at Weber State University and went on to a professional career, winning a championship with the New York Nets and playing overseas. The Italian arena PalaSojourner is named in his honor. Sojorner is known for giving his friend and teammate Julius Erving his famous "Dr. J." nickname. He is the older brother of NBA player Mike Sojourner.
Clyde Wayne Lee is an American former professional basketball player. An All-American at Vanderbilt University, Lee was the No. 3 overall pick in the 1965 NBA draft and was an NBA All-Star, playing ten seasons in the league.
Fred B. Hetzel is an American former professional basketball player. He was an All-American college player for Davidson College. Hetzel was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1965 NBA draft by the San Francisco Warriors and played six seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Kurt Nimphius is a retired American National Basketball Association (NBA) player. Nimphius played nine seasons in the NBA after his collegiate career at Arizona State University.
Lawrence T. Cannon is an American retired basketball player. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Cannon was selected in the first round of the 1969 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls with the fifth overall pick. Cannon was an American Basketball Association All-Star, who averaged 16.6 points per game in his professional career after his All-American career at LaSalle College. Cannon was forced to retire from basketball due to a chronic medical condition, phlebitis in his legs.