Following the 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday night, most of the intrigue was aimed toward Victor Wembanyama (and his sister, Eve), Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller. Still, there's a twin brother duo — Amen and Ausar Thompson — that people need to become more familiar with.
Amen and Ausar are both 6-foot-6 and weigh under 220 pounds. They played for Overtime Elite, a professional basketball league based in Atlanta, for players ages 16-20. They spent the past two years there, including skipping their senior year of high school. Their careers are just getting started, as the twins became the first brothers to get drafted in the top 5 of the same draft since the 1976 ABA-NBA merger, per ESPN Stats & Information. Amen was selected No. 4 overall by the Houston Rockets, while Ausar was drafted by the Detroit Pistons at No. 5.
Seeing what these two have accomplished, you can't help but wonder who the parents of the newly minted NBA players are. It's not every day you see twin brothers with almost identical measurables who played for the same programs and were selected in the same draft.
Who Are the Thompson Twins' Parents?
Amen and Ausar Thompson may become the first brothers to be selected in the top 10 of the same NBA draft
— Sportico (@Sportico) June 22, 2023
Amen and Ausar Thompson were born to Maya Wilson and Troy Thompson on Jan. 30, 2003, in San Leandro, California. The 5-foot-6 Maya and 6-foot Troy met at Howard and the rest is history. Ausar and Amen's older brother, Troy Jr. — named after his dad — is nine years older than the twins and played college basketball for Prairie View A&M. Troy Jr. also spent time in the NBA G League.
Maya and Troy have been involved with their development at every step.
In a story by ESPN's Israel Gutierrez, you can tell how involved they are. They talk about basketball at lunch, including topics such as Rudy Gobert being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kevin Durant's trade request from the Brooklyn Nets, Dwyane Wade's Euro step, and Jordan Poole's inside-out dribble.
The two clearly have fun with each other, and they know each other like the back of their hands. Ausar said even though Amen is a minute older, he considers himself as the big brother because he weighs more. Amen knew he was going to say that, via a video on Draft Express.
Amen and Ausar Thompson project to be the highest set of twins ever selected in the NBA Draft ?
Find out how to tell the difference between the twins, who really is the "big bro", and even who their parents love more ?
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 21, 2023
Ausar and Amen mentioned that their dad wanted them to play like Russell Westbrook. But Troy corrected them, saying, "I did not want them to play like Westbrook. I wanted them to hustle like Westbrook."
This mentality from Troy comes as no surprise when you learn about his background.
Their Uncle Was an Olympic Hurdler
? Amen Thompson x Ausar Thompson
Tomorrow, 8pm/et on ABC & ESPN ? pic.twitter.com/Npiss06g7g
— NBA Draft (@NBADraft) June 21, 2023
In his 50s now, Troy comes from a family of four brothers. Of the four, three played basketball; the fourth was Mark Thompson, an Olympic 400-meter hurdler from Jamaica in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Mark is married to two-time Olympic gold medalist Pauline Davis-Thompson, so this family has some serious speed in it.
Ausar and Amen weren't allowed to play football because of their mother's ruling, so their dad had them running similar basketball drills at age 7 that Troy Jr. did when he was kid, too.
"I would drop them off [at their elementary school's court] like an hour early," Troy told ESPN. "When they were little, they'd always want to play one-on-one. But the one-on-one would result in fights and arguing and all that nonsense.
"I was like, 'OK guys, you can do your one-on-one. But you got to do these drills first. And then I'd drive away, like I was going away. But I'd watch. And they did it. They did the drills every day before one-on-one."
After starting the drills when they were 7, they hoped to go to the NBA when they were 9. Troy helped the twins make a dream board called "Amen and Ausar's Basketball Dream."
Maya and Troy embraced the twins' dreams, including home schooling for a few years to hone training as much as possible. In eighth grade, they earned an opportunity to play at a private school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Pine Crest.
Amen and Ausar Thompson are consensus high lottery picks on everyone?s board, but it seems to be a foregone conclusion that Amen Thompson is the better of the two but I?m going to make my pitch for Ausar Thompson as the better twin pic.twitter.com/wkeZyqGYEh
— Thomas Stapleton (@TStapletonNBA) June 19, 2023
However, with their roots in the Oakland area, there were some initial discussions about moving to Florida. Troy was in favor of it, but Maya wasn't. Ausar was ready to go; Amen was hesitant.
"As parents, one of our major jobs is to sacrifice and make the best decisions for our kids and set that framework," Troy Thompson told Sports Illustrated. "So when it's their time to make the decision, they can think it through. And they've seen processes and they've seen how faith works, just believing in what you're doing and going all out how it can work for you."
By the time the twins were juniors in high school, they were heavily relied on by Pine Crest thanks to their 6-foot-6 height. And they, along with Troy, began looking for new programs to play at. This was vital as they got closer to playing in college.
As we know now, the pair went on to play for Overtime Elite, but there was some resistance by the twins at first, even though their parents embraced it.
"I didn't want to go [with OTE]," Amen told ESPN. "I didn't want to be, like, the first to do it. My mom and dad wanted me to go, and Ausar was kind of considering it. He was 50-50. I was ... stern on my 'no.'"
While there, though, the twins knew they had made the right decision.
Ausar and Amen's Overtime Elite Performance
Sources: Amen & Ausar Thompson will be on the same Overtime Elite team this year.
Ausar?s team, City Reapers, has the #1 pick in tonight?s OTE draft & his twin bro Amen will be selected.
Both are top prospects in the 2023 NBA draft as 6-7, athletic playmakers with versatile D. pic.twitter.com/VTkzQstVZ1
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) September 21, 2022
Thanks to their talent and the unwavering support from their family throughout their childhood and into Overtime, Elite, Ausar and Amen are now considered top 10 picks. Many mock drafts for the 2023 NBA Draft have them going inside the top six — with some having Amen ahead of Ausar — including Amen going to the Detroit Pistons and Ausar to the Orlando Magic.
Here's how they performed this past regular season with Overtime Elite:
- Ausar Thompson (per game): 16.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 2.4 steals, 1.1 blocks
- Amen Thompson (per game): 16.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 2.3 steals, 0.9 blocks
Looking at the regular season stat lines, it's incredible how similar they are. Yes, they're twins, but everything about them is nearly a carbon copy, including their Overtime Elite production.
Congratulations, Amen and Ausar. The dream board titled "Amen and Ausar's Basketball Dream" will soon be a reality.
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