On June 12, 1991, the Bulls beat the Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Michael Jordan won his first championship. Phil Jackson got his first ring as a coach. And former No. 1 overall pick Mychal Thompson retired, playing only one game of the series. He left the NBA with averages of 13.7 points and 7.4 rebounds, underwhelming for a player selected five spots ahead of Larry Bird.
But don't feel bad for Thompson. He played a year in Italy and then moved back to Portland, where he had started his career, with his 2-year-old son, Klay. Klay, three inches shorter than his father at 6-7, developed into an elite NBA shooter. He met Stephen Curry, son of one of Mychal's NBA contemporaries, Dell Curry. The two became the Splash Brothers, and the rest is history.
Jackson says the dads not being superstars is an important part of that history.
"For these people who don't know Mychal Thompson or Dell Curry, neither one of them was a great success coming into the game," Jackson said, on a panel with Shaquille O'Neal hosted by Hannah Storm, presented by American Express. "They faced hardship. Mychal was the first pick of the draft. He did not have immediate success. His success came when he went to the Lakers and won championships. Dell was an expansion player, from Cleveland to Charlotte. We always loved his shot. He was a great shooter, but he never really had that great success."
Dell averaged 11.7 points in 16 seasons. He won a Sixth Man of the Year Award in 1993-94, but he only started 99 of 1,083 career games. Like Mychal, he retired with solid, but not spectacular statistics.
Jackson has never coached Klay Thompson or Stephen Curry, but he worked with the ultimate example of non-superstar NBA player having a son that developed into an elite performer.
"I always thought about Kobe [Bryant]," Jackson says. "His father was a player that lasted a couple years in the NBA and then went over to Italy and never really had the success he wanted or felt he deserved. I think the children of those type of parents really have a drive to overrun their father, to do better than their father, to knock the king off the throne."
Bryant's father, Joe, was the No. 14 pick in the 1975 NBA draft by the Warriors and was traded to the 76ers before his first game. Joe averaged 8.7 points in eight NBA seasons before playing eight years in Europe. Kobe was a bit more successful.
Likewise, Stephen and Klay have already surpassed their dads, regardless of how this NBA Finals turns out. Both are All-Stars who have led their team to championships.
Perhaps raising sons more skilled than themselves are Mychal and Dell's most prideful basketball accomplishments.
Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.