Lakers Moments: Mychal Thompson is a strong competitor in a ‘Showtime’ era


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Take hold: Lakers forward Mychal Thompson pulls down a rebound in a game against Sacramento on Jan. 15, 1990.

The addition of Thompson, acquired in a trade with San Antonio in February 1987, was critical to the Lakers’ title hopes that season. In fact, when told of the trade, which included the Lakers paying the Spurs some cash, a visibly upset Larry Bird of Boston said: “If San Antonio needed money, we would’ve sent them money. But to go and help the Lakers like that is just terrible.”


Thompson added depth and muscle to a Lakers front line that eventually would face Bird’s Celtics in the NBA Finals, doing battle with a Boston team that had what is generally considered the greatest front line in league history: Bird, Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale.

He was an exceptional defender, his duels with McHale were ferocious, but also displayed a good touch around the basket. Averaging 10 points and four rebounds coming off the bench in 1987, Thompson was a key to the Lakers defeating the Celtics for the second time in three years in the Finals.

The following season was probably his best as a Laker as he averaged 11.6 points and six rebounds a game. That kind of production off the bench is why the 1988 Lakers championship squad is often mentioned as one of the greatest in NBA history.

Read more about Mychal Thompson in All Things Lakers, the L.A. Times’ interactive database of all things purple and gold.

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-- Steve Lowery