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Former NCSU Basketball Star Gets Honor Off Court -- College Diploma

Posted December 17, 2003

— The life of a person many consider the greatest college basketball player to grace the Atlantic Coast Conference has come full circle. David "The Skywalker" Thompson soared again Wednesday by earning his degree at North Carolina State University.

Thompson was seven credit hours short when he left N.C. State for the NBA in 1975. This summer, he came back and finished his course requirements. Now, he has a degree in sociology.

"It's a big moment in my life," he said.

Thompson said he returned to school to fulfill a promise to his mother. He also made sure his daughter did not graduate from N.C. State before he did.

"I've already got my degree, and I've got it on the wall," he said. "I've got my daughter's (degree) below mine because I beat her by one semester, one summer-school semester."

Thompson has seen a lot of ups and downs since his days at Reynolds Coliseum. Now with a degree in his hand, he plans to help keep kids on the straight and narrow.

"I've been doing a lot of the speaking before and talking to young kids, and it kind of falls into play with the sociology degree, talking about the dangers of drugs and alcohol," Thompson said.

Thompson is a big name in Raleigh, but he may not have been the most well-known graduate among his classmates. N.C. State quarterback Philip Rivers also received his diploma Wednesday morning. The football star's celebration was short-lived because he had to get to Orlando for the Wolfpack's Tangerine Bowl game on Monday.


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