After making the NBA Finals for five straight seasons, the Golden State Warriors were on top of the world. They were the heavy favorites for a majority of their matchups throughout the playoffs. However, during the 2019 Finals, Kevin Durant tore his Achilles and then Klay Thompson tore his ACL days apart. It seemed as if the Dubs could not catch a break.
Durant left during the off-season, and the Warriors won 15 games in 2020. Then, while getting ready for the 2021 season, Thompson tore his Achilles. Over the past two years, saying the Warriors had a reality check would be an understatement.
After winning his fourth title, Thompson talked about it with reporters after celebrating in the locker room.
“But the second [injury] time it happened it was like, what the heck is going on, man,” Thompson reminisces. “Just to stay with it, just calf raise after calf raise, after underwater treadmill, so many days, not even touching a ball.
Then to go through this season with the ups and downs, and even these playoffs, I’m just at a loss for words at times. Because I knew this was possible but to be here in real-time, man, I don’t want to leave. I want to enjoy every second of this. I know how fleeting it can be.”
Thompson Calls Player a ‘Bum’
With the Dubs so down on their luck the past two years, many rivals and opponents would mock the Warriors any chance they could get. To no surprise, Thompson revealed one grudge unprovoked that he held on to after he had some alcohol in him from the locker room.
“I can’t wait, there is this one player on the Grizzlies who tweeted ‘strength in numbers’ after they beat us in the regular season and it pissed me off so much,” Thompson says truthfully. “I can’t wait to retweet that thing. Frigging bum.”
During the second half of the season, the Dubs limped to the end of the regular season, trying to get healthy and log continuity with their core pieces. Thompson was referring to the game against Memphis, where all of the core guys were sitting out due to load management. The Grizzlies won 123-95 and mocked the Dubs, with the Jaren Jackson Jr. tweet being something that Thompson held onto.
“I had to watch that, like this frigging—okay, okay. Sorry. Bad memory just popped up. Going to mock us? Like, you ain’t ever been there before, bro. We been there. We know what it takes. Hold that. Twitter fingers, can you believe it?
I’ve got a memory like an elephant. I don’t forget. There were a lot of people kicking us down.”
Thompson is someone that wears his heart on his sleeves, and the media devours everything he says. However, this one seems to be something he was pretty upset about and used as motivation to win the title this season.
Championship Comes Full Circle for Thompson
It was in Game 6 of the 2019 Finals where Thompson tore his left ACL, and then fast forward three years later, he wins another championship in Game 6 of the 2022 Finals.
Quite fitting, for someone like Thompson to work so hard to get back to this level, and to finish off the season like this. There was no Game 6 Klay in the 2022 NBA Finals, as he shot 5-for-20, but he showed stretches of the elite defense that he was known for before his 2019 injury.