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For the fifth straight year, a former Texas Longhorn will be playing in the NBA Finals. Lifetime Longhorn Tristan Thompson has a chance to be the third Longhorn in the last half decade to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy as his Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 NBA Finals.
Thompson, the 4th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, has been a monster for the Cavs during their postseason run. The Brampton, Ontario native has averaged 9.5 points and 10 rebounds a game en route to the Cavs’ first Eastern Conference title since 2007. With the playoff-ending injury to starting power forward Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson has seen a greatly increased role for the Cavaliers. Since being thrust into the starting lineup, Thompson has been a force down low on both sides for a team trying to win its first ever NBA title.
Thompson joins the likes of former Longhorns Dexter Pittman (2011 and 2012 Miami Heat,) Kevin Durant (2012 Oklahoma City Thunder,) Royal Ivey (2012 Thunder) and Cory Joseph (2013 and 2014 San Antonio Spurs) as Horns who have played in the NBA Finals during this streak. Of these four, only Pittman (2011) and Joseph (2014) were able to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy come series end.
In total, the Texas basketball program has had eight players compete in the NBA Finals. Longhorn legend Slater Martin won five titles with the Minneapolis Lakers and St. Louis Hawks during his Hall of Fame career, while Daniel Gibson and Chris Mihm played on losing teams in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
Thomspon is hoping to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first title in franchise history while also attempting to become the fourth Longhorn ever to win an NBA championship.
Game 2 in the series begins Sunday at tomorrow night at 7 pm CST at Oracle Arena in Oakland.