The Golden State Warriors defeated Cleveland Cavaliers to win third NBA championship in four seasons and the Warriors are once again NBA champions.
They now join a select list of teams to win three NBA championships in four years and are expected to add to that impressive haul. Las Vegas bookmakers listed them as the prohibitive favorites to triumph in 2019.
Hard work and team spirit definitely played a vital role in the victory. However, the reason behind the unity of the team is Klay Thompson.
Head coach Steve Kerr described how he thought Thompson was the star of the team and how he “envied” him.
"I wish I was Klay Thompson. I envy him. He doesn't really care what anybody thinks. But the way it manifests itself is so natural and normal. He just loves to play, he loves his days off, he loves getting outside, loves the beach. He's not low-maintenance. He's no-maintenance,” he said.
Kerr added given the talent and personality, Thompson could have easily made his own team but he didn’t because that’s not who he is. Despite the qualities, he has no problem in just playing his role in the Warriors.
However, the name that Thompson has today didn’t come easily.
Back in high school, hardly anyone respected him. He was just known as former Los Angeles Lakers center Mychal Thompson's son and Trayce Thompson's older brother.
He worked day and night on-court to make his name. He did training sessions with Coach Joedy Gardner twice a week at San Juan Capistrano Boys & Girls Club in California. Gardner adopted several drills that helped achieve the perfect quick release he has today.
"I had Klay from such a young age, it really helped. And he still comes by to work. He'll just show up out of the blue at my house, like, 'I wanted to get some shots up,’” said Gardner.
The Warriors assistant coach Chris DeMarco also shared his experience with the star. He added Thompson simply loves the game. He would play in the backyard for hours like a kid. DeMarco further said Thompson also shows up at the facility late at night to practice extra shots.
The accounts prove that basketball matters the most to Thompson.
"I usually wake up, go to the facility, get breakfast, get my shots up. About 100. I'll get stretched, ice tub, maybe get Subway. Play with [my dog] Rocco in the backyard. Take a nap. Go to the arena. Have fun. Hopefully we win. It's that simple. I do that 100 times a year,” said Thompson.
All the limelight that he is in today doesn’t drive him away from being a normal human being.
He is used to run his own errands as he told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that he had to get new driver’s license because he lost his. He added he has to go to the DMV to get a new one.
Fellow players on the team also had some good thoughts about Thompson.
"He's just himself," said Warriors guard Shaun Livingston. "He doesn't stray. I hope he never changes."
Warriors forward Draymond Green said, “If he had a huge ego, this doesn't work. It just doesn't."
“I have never heard Klay say, 'This is B.S. ... This guy is shooting too much, that guy won't pass, or I'm not getting enough looks.’ If he has a bad night, Klay will say, 'I wasn't good tonight. I couldn't make anything.' Most guys would be like, 'The system sucks' or blame it on a teammate or coach,” said his agent Greg Lawrence.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports