Ex-Barcelona player reappears after being presumed dead for 40 years

Charles Thomas, who played basketball for Barcelona from 1970 to 1975 has reappeared after being presumed dead for 40 years.

After retiring, Thomas fell into a downward spiral involving drugs and separating from his wife and the legend grew that he had met a violent end.

However, his former teammate Norman Carmicheal has revealed that he is still alive and that he has spoken to him via videocall.

Thomas, now 74-years-old, lives in a nursing home in Amarillo, Texas.

Carmicheal said he was shocked when he received a call and a woman told him Charles Thomas wanted to speak to him – he thought it was a sick joke, but he accepted the call.

“I was speechless when I saw his face on the call,” said Carmicheal.

“I recognised him by his smile and way of talking. He spoke calmly and didn’t try to convince me who he was, he just wanted to talk to me.”

Thomas was one of the first US basketballers to represent Barcelona and cut an imposing presence on the court, being one of the pioneers of the slam dunk in Spain.

There’s a story that in one training session they put a 1,000 peseta note high up on the backboard and he managed to get it.

Another legend is that Barcelona opted to sign Thomas ahead of a certain Lew Alcindor – later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – because he asked for half the wages.

Thomas arrived at Barcelona after impressing for two seasons at Sant Josep and after five seasons with the Blaugrana, he had a brief spell with Manresa before returning to the United States.

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