December 27, 2004

Jason Richardson in the retro uniform last week.
As part of their ongoing Hardwood Classics Mondays promotion – presented by Verizon Wireless -- the Golden State Warriors will be wearing the team's blue road uniforms from the 1966-67 season when they host the Denver Nuggets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at The Arena in Oakland.

In addition, 50 of the first 5,000 fans attending the Warriors-Nuggets game will win an authentic Mitchell and Ness Nate Thurmond HWC Classic jersey, as the franchise again honors one of its all-time greats.

The Warriors' first HWC Monday was a huge success as the team honored legendary coach and player Alvin Attles. Both Golden State and the visiting Washington Wizards wore throwback uniforms as part of league-wide Hardwood Classics initiative that 13 other NBA teams are taking part in. The Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, Orlando Magic, Denver Nuggets and Wizards are all taking part in the program.

GQ Magazine recently ranked the Warriors' "The City" tops, with the classic Cable Car design on the back among the greatest uniforms of all time in any sport. Upcoming HWC Mondays will honor former Warriors greats Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry, the 1974-75 championship team and "Run-TMC".

Fans can win an authentic Thurmond jersey at the game
Thurmond was selected by the Warriors with the third pick in the 1963 NBA Draft, and played alongside Chamberlain and against Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And at the end of an illustrious 14-year career that ended with an induction into the NBA's Hall of Fame, it was obvious that Thurmond very much belonged in that esteemed group.

The seven-time NBA All-Star was voted one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history, was considered the consummate teammate and one of the game's best all-around centers. While Russell was known primarily for his defense, and Chamberlain and Abdul-Jabbar for their offense, Thurmond was harder to categorize. He posted career averages of 15 points and 15 rebounds per game during his career, yet that only tells part of the story.

Although he is nowhere to be found on the Warriors' all-time shot-blocking list (the league didn't keep that statistic when Thurmond played), there is no doubt Thurmond was one of the most intimidating defenders the NBA has ever known.

"I hate cliches," said Attles, who coached and played with Thurmond. "They're all around you. But Nate Thurmond came to play every game. You can't put that label on any other player more than you can put it on Big Nate."