Former Washington State nice Klay Thompson is again on prime after overcoming accidents: ‘He came back better than ever’

BOSTON – Klay Thompson was one of many final Golden State Warriors gamers standing on the stage at TD Garden after the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy presentation celebration.

The Warriors have been champions, once more. And Thompson didn’t wish to take one second of it without any consideration.

“I was feeling absolutely incredible,” a champagne-soaked Thompson stated of that second of pure bliss after the Warriors beat the Celtics 103-90 to win one other NBA title. “I was feeling just so high on life that I did not want to leave the stage, and I just know how hard this is, and to be here for a fourth time, like so grateful for my teammates.”

Thompson, who starred at Washington State, had a sense from the start of this season that this might occur. Back in November, nonetheless months away from his long-anticipated return, Thompson confidently proclaimed this season was “championship or bust” for the Warriors, who sprinted to an 18-2 begin regardless of being undermanned.

“People called me crazy,” Thompson recalled. “I knew we had a chance to do something special, and here we are. It’s so incredible. Wow.”

The prophecy has been fulfilled and the style of candy victory — combined with champagne and beer, after all — made the final three years of ache and struggling that Thompson endured value it.

“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,” he stated. “I want to enjoy every second of this. I know how fleeting it can be.”

Thompson’s resiliency to beat not one however two career-altering accidents has been inspiring to his teammates.

“I’m excited for him, man. Seen all the work he put in, and all the dedication and all the hard work he had, dealing with all the injuries and all the ups and downs he had… he came back better than ever, on a mission,” a buzzing Kevon Looney stated after the victory. “He helped us win a lot of games and helped us win this championship.”

It’s been 1,100 days since Thompson crumpled to the court docket of Oracle Arena in excruciating ache throughout Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He memorably tried to remain within the recreation, taking pictures a pair of free throws earlier than exiting for a ultimate time. He knew he can be again ultimately however he didn’t know when and at what degree he would play.

Thompson gave the impression to be nearing his return when his proper Achilles tendon betrayed him earlier than the 2020-21 season.

“The second time it happened it was like, ‘What the heck is going on, man?’” he stated. “Just to stay with it, just calf raise after calf raise, after underwater treadmill, so many days, not even touching a ball.”

But Thompson powered by the strenuous and sluggish rehabilitation course of for this. Now, he’s becoming a member of his teammates Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala to be amongst solely 40 all-time NBA gamers who’ve received 4 titles.

“The anguish that Klay has felt over the last three years… people can guess as to what it is like, but we saw it up close. And between a second year-long injury and losing what he loves to do most in life — playing the game — it’s been a rough go for him,” coach Steve Kerr stated. “So his return was special for us on and off the floor because of what he’s meant to the organization, what he’s done for this team, and then of course his play. I mean, his two-way ability is up at the top of the league. So we’re thrilled for Klay.”

Added Looney, “Credit to him. He’s a hard worker. He’s the ultimate professional, and he’s somebody you can always rely on. So I’m just proud to be his teammate and be able to be with him this long.”

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