“Thagic Johnson.” It’s a nickname that set certain Twitterspheres aflame this year, most recently when the San Antonio Spurs acquired 33-year-old forward Thaddeus Young in a blockbuster sign-and-trade sending DeMar DeRozan to the Chicago Bulls. After the news dropped, Spurs fans and reporters quickly discovered the moniker on Young’s Basketball Reference page.
For thirteen seasons prior to 2020-21, he was mostly known simply as “Thad,” the well-rounded workhorse who bullied his way to solid campaigns on five different teams. That’s not to say that he was a brute who never flashed skill though.
Quite the contrary, as the athletic bruiser has always been equipped with nimble interior moves, fluid jaunts to the rim, and a catalog of crafty-to-forceful finishes in an ideal basketball frame at 6-8 with a 7-1 wingspan.
Young carried these attributes from touted high school prospect to NBA Draft lottery pick to reliable starter to now. But how did he become “Thagic Johnson” and how would adding him to the Spurs roster be potentially beneficial for all parties?