The Splash Brother was also mad that he only made third team All-NBA
You probably don’t think of Klay Thompson as a crazy competitor. The Golden State Warriors guard is not particularly expressive when he has a scoring explosion, and off the court he’s known as a chill guy who likes to hang out with his dog, Rocco. (Rocco has his own Instagram account, by the way.)
Thompson, though, is apparently just like his teammate Draymond Green when it comes to holding onto perceived slights. The Splash Brother remembers that his NBA Finals opponent, the Cleveland Cavaliers, passed on him twice in the 2011 draft, and that the Sacramento Kings made the terrible mistake of choosing Jimmer Fredette instead of him, via ESPN’s Zach Lowe:
Thompson holds a semi-tongue-in-cheek grudge against the Kings for daring to draft another shooter, Jimmer Fredette, over him. “I considered myself the best shooter in that draft, so when someone took another shooter over me, it was a slap in the face,” Thompson told ESPN.com after Game 1 of the Finals.
He delights in reminding teammates and coaches behind closed doors that two Cavaliers, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, went ahead of him in the same draft; he quips that the Cavs took “the wrong Thompson,” team officials say. “He definitely remembers Kyrie went before him,” assistant GM Kirk Lacob told ESPN.com. “I can say that for sure.”
When the league revealed the All-NBA teams last month, with Damian Lillard making the second team ahead of Thompson, he steamed, team officials said. He stormed around the locker room, asking if voters had watched him defend Lillard in the second round. They politely reminded Thompson that voters submit ballots before the playoffs.
Especially considering the Warriors won 73 games in the regular season, Thompson had a legitimate case for being on the first or second team for All-NBA this year. Looking back, he is either the second-, third- or fourth-best player from his draft class, depending on what you think of Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler. San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who was taken four spots after Thompson at No. 15, is the only player who has been definitively better than him.
Thompson is one of the most deadly shooters in NBA history, and he has evolved into one of the best wing defenders in the league, an amazing feat considering he was considered a defensive liability coming out of college. He has every reason to be confident, and his team has proven that there is value in finding motivation wherever you can.
In recent months, Thompson has earned a lot of praise for his humility. Stephen Curry is the most popular player on the planet, so Thompson receives only a fraction of the attention his backcourt partner does. While he could be another team’s franchise player, he has repeatedly expressed that he’s happy being where he is and winning. These stories go to show that his public modesty should not be confused with a total lack of ego. You don’t get to Thompson’s level without believing that you’re one of the best.
Klay Thompson is a confident guy.