Thompson’s biggest critic has direct line to budding star
OAKLAND, Calif. – Klay Thompson had just outdone himself and nearly everyone else in recent NBA playoff games.
The shooting guard scored 29 points for the Golden State Warriors in the first half of a Western Conference semifinal game against San Antonio. He finished with 34 points, 14 rebounds and three steals in a victory.
Someone in the family wanted more, though, and you probably don’t need two guesses if you’re even vaguely familiar with the Thompson family’s picky patriarch.
Never mind that according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other starting guards to match Klay’s scoring and rebounding totals in a playoff game in the last 25 years were Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter.
According to Mychal Thompson, his son should have scored 40 points because he missed too many layups.
These are the perils of being the offspring of a two-time NBA champion and Los Angeles Lakers radio analyst whose expectations are always high.
Yet Klay doesn’t wince whenever his cellphone rings.
“It’s good to hear from him,” said Klay. “It’s great to go to him for advice.”
Mychal has dispensed plenty of that throughout the best-of-seven series that ended Thursday with San Antonio ending the Warriors’ season.
Mychal’s messages tend to be upbeat, if occasionally tinged with subtle jabs that Klay knows not to take personally.
Klay has always been able to make shots; it’s his improved defense that has made him one of the best young players in the league. His feistiness sprouted from backyard battles against older brother Mychel, who played briefly last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and younger brother Trayce, a center fielder with the double-A Birmingham Barons, a Chicago White Sox affiliate.
Presiding was Mychal, who as a 6-10 center-forward was the first pick of the 1978 NBA draft, and mother Julie, a 5-10 former setter for the volleyball team at the University of San Francisco.
“His mom and dad were always there, not just for him but for all three boys,” said Jerry DeBusk, who coached the Thompson brothers at Santa Margarita Catholic High School in California. “They were just classy, and dad didn’t interfere too much and his mom was always supportive.”
Mychal also was openly critical when he felt it was necessary. He ripped his son on the radio during Klay’s junior season at Washington State after he was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession.
Earlier this season, Mychal said he controlled his son’s finances and would dock his allowance after Klay was fined $35,000 for shoving Indiana’s Roy Hibbert.
Mychal later said he was joking about the finances – but not before Klay’s friends and teammates teased him about it. It’s a good thing Klay laughed right along with them.
“I just got a kick out of it,” Klay said.
Mychal was able to provide his thoughts in person after attending Games 3 and 4 in Oakland.
After Klay made two shots in the final minutes of regulation and a key steal in overtime during the Warriors’ 97-87 victory in Game 4 on Sunday, father and son met briefly in a hallway.
Mychal praised Klay’s defense and told him he was proud of him. Oh, and one other thing.
“Call your mother,” Mychal said, making sure Julie was not forgotten on Mother’s Day.