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Sports >  WSU basketball

Klay Thompson says Warriors will ‘seize’ opportunity at fifth title

Sept. 27, 2022 Updated Wed., Sept. 28, 2022 at 8:16 p.m.

Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson stops Sunday to admire the Larry O’Brien Championship trophies in San Francisco, Calif.  (JOSE CARLOS FAJARDO/Bay Area News Group)
Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson stops Sunday to admire the Larry O’Brien Championship trophies in San Francisco, Calif. (JOSE CARLOS FAJARDO/Bay Area News Group)
By Shayna Rubin Bay Area News Group

SAN FRANCISCO – For the first time since 2019, Klay Thompson had a normal offseason.

No ACL tear. No Achilles tear. No tedious rehabilitation workouts. Thompson is free of concern and back for his ninth season over 11 years.

“It was amazing. So nice just being in the gym and working out and getting shots up,” Thompson said at Warriors media day on Sunday. “I did a lot of things I do in rehab, like calf raises and all the stuff, to squats or whatever. But to be just free in your body and my perspective about what that means because of what I went through, I couldn’t ask for a better time off, really. It was great.”

With no injuries bogging his mind, Thompson vacationed around Europe, went to the Bahamas (where he has family), went live on his Instagram from his boat on the Bay and posted videos of him dancing on the back of bigger boats in Italy.

“If you’re in the Italian Riviera, who is not dancing?” he said. “It’s magical. Magical waters.”

In his 30s now, the former Washington State standout has to adjust his routine. He hasn’t been doing five-on-five scrimmages because it was during a scrimmage two offseasons ago that he tore his Achilles – “I might have been a little hesitant to do that. But I kept myself in good shape, and I will be ready to go by the 18th.”

He added:

“Well, I had to just – as you get older, you have to do the little things,” he said. “It’s not just about basketball anymore. So dieting was important, strength training, stretching, the mobility stuff. And of course, on top of that, just getting up shots at the gym every day or every other day was the cherry on top.”

Now Thompson has a fifth title on the brain. And it’s not lost on him that a fifth title would put him, Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala into rarefied air.

“I don’t think we’ve actually talked about it at all, but I think about it all the time,” Thompson said. “I think about Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan, Kobe (Bryant) – who else has five, five championships? Kareem got six. The greatest – Scottie (Pippen), Michael (Jordan). The greatest players to ever play are in that zone of championships. It’s mind-boggling to think that we have that opportunity. But we are going to seize it, I just – I can feel it. I can feel it.

“I think we are all so proud of what we accomplished last year, but that’s in the past. The greats stay hungry, and we all have our motivations for why we want to win another one. I mean, the guys coming back who have won it for their first time, I just know they want to experience that again.”

After tearing his ACL during the 2019 Finals, Thompson missed two seasons and half of last season as he rehabbed an Achilles tear sustained in 2020. Though a little slow to start once he returned last December, he found some rhythm in the playoffs. He’s no fazed by his down numbers, shooting below 40% from 3 (38%) for the first time in his career.

“Well, considering, you know, I was second made threes in the playoffs, and that culminated in a championship, I felt like myself. I felt great,” he said. “I mean, yeah, you could talk about the numbers, and I shot better percentages at times. But, I mean, if you end the season with a championship – I’m a harsh critic, but I gave myself some leeway last year.”

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