Like a lot of naturally quiet people, I think that it’s taken some time for Klay Thompson to open up, but it feels like where we are at the point of getting to know each other fairly well. He’s been around the Bay long enough to get a feel for the fan base, and we have been watching Thompson for years.
But I’ve never read anything that dove as cleanly into the Klay behind the Thompson as this recent article from Slam magazine.
Not too long ago, one of our authors here at Golden State of Mind took some heat online after penning a thoughtful article on being authentic. It’s obviously a loaded term, now more than ever, but the one that I think best describes Klay Thompson — he’s just not interested in putting up a front.
While this is great in that he doesn’t get too far out over his skis, it also means that we are only shown limited amounts of his personality.
Recently, we’ve seen him come into his own, both on the court — where he has established himself as a Great rather than just a good player — as well as off. China Klay was really the first opening of the public eye. That quiet dude from Golden State? He’s kind of fun!
Now, about that article
As someone who reads a ton of Warriors-related news, I try and be very reserved about calling something a “must read” but I think this profile on Klay, written by Tzvi Twersky (who is an avid sneakerhead and ex-editor at Slam) is pretty close to mandatory if you remotely care about Klay Thompson.
According to the author, he had been pitching the article idea to Slam “for years” because through some combination of friend circles, he knew people who knew Klay.
The article itself almost reads like a Quentin Tarantino movie, with a bunch of seemingly unrelated snippets somehow being wove into a unified thread that leaves you with a deeper understanding.
“I’ve always been quiet and stoic,” says Klay. After Thompson moved from Oregon to Cali at age 14, he was shocked, like any teen who feels momentarily uprooted, and barely spoke in public for a full year. Most of his classmates didn’t learn he was the son of an NBA player until later.
“We were teammates and didn’t share a lot of words,” says Zarif.
Using song titles as vignettes, the author dances between subjects - from Klay wandering away from structured team activities in China, to his skateboarding prowess, and then onto his sensitive selfless side. In each touch into his world, Klay is shown in a glowing light. It’s probably a little bit of projection from me, but the guy just seems to be the sort of dude I’d like to go surfing with in the morning, and then kick it and watch the sun go down while drinking beers and stuff.
Funny thing is, Thompson is not purposely trying to build his brand this way—it’s just happening. #ChinaKlay isn’t contrived, nor are the funny one-line quips he’s given to the media of late. They’re just snapshots of a 28-year-old who is comfortable in his own skin.
Take a moment from his Anta-sponsored tour of China this past summer. There’s a video most of us have seen in which Thompson brutally misses not one, but two dunks in a row. Except Klay doesn’t care. Where most athletes would have told their sneaker company, No, I won’t try it, Klay just laughs and says, “I was fresh off an airplane that took me from the US to China.”
Seriously, just go read the article. It’s short and entertaining, and I promise you that you’ll come away with a newfound love for Klay.