As The Denver Nuggets Celebrate NBA Title, A Meadowlark Documentary Feature Will Profile David Thompson, One Of The Team’s (And College Basketball’s) All-Time Greats

As The Denver Nuggets Celebrate NBA Title, A Meadowlark Documentary Feature Will Profile David Thompson, One Of The Team’s (And College Basketball’s) All-Time Greats

June 15, 2023

EXCLUSIVE: As Denver throws a parade for the Nuggets, who just captured their first NBA championship after 47 seasons in the league, a new documentary project is poised to shine a light on one of the team’s all-time greats.

David Thompson, a star for the Nuggets for eight seasons as well as a force in college basketball with the 1974 national-champion North Carolina State Wolfpack, is the subject of the film from Meadowlark and Backstage Media. Nelson George, whose previous documentaries have featured ballerina Misty Copeland and baseball immortal Willie Mays, will direct the film.

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In college, Thompson led NC State to the NCAA championship over Bill Walton and seven-time defending champion UCLA in 1974. He went on to play seven seasons for the Nuggets and two in Seattle, averaging more than 22 points per game during his NBA career. He was one of basketball’s premier dunkers in the 1970s, earning himself the nickname Skywalker. Basketball analysts have declared he was Michael Jordan before Michael Jordan. To Jordan, Thompson was his idol and he went on to be one of Jordan’s inductors into the Hall of Fame.

Despite his stature in the basketball community, when the NBA unveiled its 75 Greatest Players list in 2021, Thompson’s name was not on it. “David Skywalker,” a player who had once poured in 73 points in a single game, did have baggage. Addiction plagued his career, and after eight seasons, cocaine, alcohol and injury foreshortened it.

In 1996, Thompson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a testament to his impactful career and the milestone of overcoming his demons.

“Watching David Thompson on TV, when he starred at North Carolina State, was my introduction to the beauty of above the rim basketball,” George said. “His professional career coincided with the ABA/NBA merger and the transformation of the game. I am honored to be part of introducing his vital legacy to the current generation of basketball fans.”

Thompson “was my favorite player growing up and I still believe he is a candidate for the best non-center college basketball player of all time,” Meadowlark CEO John Skipper said. “It is labor of love to have the opportunity to participate in telling his remarkable story.”

Agreed Backstage Managing Partner John Marvel, “My fondest basketball memories are of David Thompson, whether it was watching him lead NC State to the title in 1974, sneaking into Denver’s McNichols Arena to see him defy gravity or conversing with Michael Jordan about his idol’s greatness.”

Meadowlark and Backstage will explore the rise and fall of David Thompson’s career as the 50th anniversary of NC State’s title approaches in 2024. Thompson left an indelible mark on the NBA, not known to most because of its premature ending.

George’s past films include Finding the Funk (VH1), The Announcement (ESPN), and Brooklyn Boheme (Showtime). He was a producer on Netflix’s award-winning documentary on black music executive Clarence Avant, The Black Godfather.

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