When a player misses a field goal or free throw, the act of retrieving the ball is called Rebounding. Colloquially referred to as a 'board', it is one of the most underrated and often overlooked aspects in Basketball. Highlights brimming with rim-shattering dunks and swat-away blocks never really leave space for the dirty work done under the board.
It can be either a defensive rebound (by a player of the team on defence) or an offensive rebound(by a player of the team on offence), the chances of the latter being relatively less. The race to be the first one to pull the ball down immediately after a miss is something of a physical tussle. Players use physicality to try and box each other out in the paint and place themselves in a position to grab the rebound when the ball rims out.
Often the hustle that accompanies rebounding a ball night in and night out goes about unnoticed. Nevertheless, the offensive rebounds leading to second-chance points as well as the paint-protection to secure almost all of the defensive rebounds play a huge underlying role in the way the game of basketball shapes itself throughout the 4 quarters.
Here are some unsung heroes who took all the hits(literally) for their teams & ruled the boards:
#10 Nate Thurmond
Drafted third overall by the San Francisco Warriors (modern-day Golden State Warriors) in 1963, Nate's skillset found him a place in the NBA's All-Rookie team, playing sidekick to Wilt Chamberlain in his debut season. He then went on to average more rebounds (18.1 rpg) than points(16.5 ppg) in his second year.
Apart from an adept rebounder, Nate's mastery in blocking shots at will is something the stat sheets can't validate, as block shots were not recorded at that point in time in the NBA. Had that not been the case, his numbers would surely have been something to be praised.
Named in the All-NBA first defensive team twice (1969 & 1971), Thurmond was also the first person to record a quadruple-double in NBA's history when he stacked up 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocks in his first game with the Bulls after being traded from the Warriors. He pulled down a total of 14,464 boards throughout his career and is 10th on the all-time rebounding list.