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Hey Skywalker,(no Luke, the original one)Thanks!

Wednesday night was the NC State heritage game where the men's basketball team returned to Reynolds Coliseum to face Maryland Eastern Shore. The heritage game is an annual event, and it's always exciting for the players and the fans. This particular day was very special for David Thompson. They unveiled a new statue to honor him, and there is no question that it is well deserved. The Wolfpack downed Maryland Eastern Shore which most of you know already, but there is so much more to talk about. This article is about NC State's heritage and legacy, and it is a rich one.

For those of you who didn't get to see David Thompson play, you truly missed out on the greatest college basketball player of all time. He is only 6'4, but he had an incredible 44 inch vertical jump, which earned him the nickname "Skywalker". David Thompson is from Shelby NC, and according to his high school coach, he could retrieve objects that were placed on top of the backboard. I don't doubt it one bit. His leaping ability was beyond anything I have ever seen. He was a once in a lifetime talent who succeeded at every level. He invented the alley-oop as it was called at the time. He was the only one who could jump high enough to catch the ball if it was thrown in the correct spot, which it was most of the time. No one could stop it. Keep in mind, dunking was illegal in those days which seems hard to believe, but he still created plenty of excitement. I often find myself thinking about what it would have been like if dunking would have been legal then. It would have been a great thing to watch. Also at the time, players could only play 3 years, because they were not allowed to play as freshmen. It sure was a different time.

NC State has had some great basketball players, both men and women. Names like Tom Burleson, Hawkeye Whitney, Kenny Carr, Thurl Bailey, Julius Hodge, Rodney Monroe, and many, many more. As great as they were, David Thompson was in a completely different universe. His jersey is the only jersey ever retired by NC state. He went on to have a great NBA career, even though it wasn't as long as it could have been. He is one of only a handful of people who have scored more than 70 points in an NBA game. That is simply incredible when you think about it. The ACC, and in fact college basketball as a whole has never seen a player like David Thompson since. He deserves all the recognition for his accomplishments, and we can all be proud that he chose NC State to display his amazing talents. He will always be the best in my mind, and I thought it was only fitting that I honor him. He was NC State's Jedi Master, and the Empire didn't have a chance.

Heritage, in the case of NC State athletics is almost synonymous with legacy. We are the best fanbase in all of college sports. I really believe that. There is so much history and tradition. It's not just buildings and facilities, it's the embodiment of the athletes, coaches, fans, and administrators who have been a part of the culture of NC State athletics. It's such a great thing to be part of, and we are truly lucky to have this experience.

Reynolds Coliseum has a lot of history. It is nostalgic and it has such a great feel. You can feel the sense of tradition and the positive energy that it exudes, but without all of the things that have made it what it is , it would just be a building. Two national championships, Norm Sloan, Jim Valvano, Kay Yow, and many others have created the legacy that we, as NC State fans cherish. The greatest of all time is David Thompson, and I don't know if we will ever see another basketball player as gifted as he was. If we do, it will be something to behold.



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