May 26, 2022
Golden State Warriors
Game 5: Postgame
Warriors 120, Mavericks 110
KLAY THOMPSON: I'm actually happy to be up here tonight. That's a change of pace from the past (smiling).
Q. Klay, you seemed like you were on the verge of maybe tears after the game. Can you just describe what emotions were going through you after everything that you've been through over the last three years.
KLAY THOMPSON: Just such a surreal feeling. It's hard to put into words really. This time last year, I was just starting to jog again and get up and down the court. Now to be feeling like myself, feeling explosive, feeling sure in my movements, I'm just grateful.
All those emotions kind of rushed through me, and I thought about our training staff, I thought about Rick Celebrini, I thought about Steve, I thought about those days me and Rick were together in Santa Cruz and I was in a terrible mood. We were together in the summertime. All those long days.
They would tell me it would pay off. It was hard to see that at the time. Now to actually be here, I can feel it paying off.
Q. You've obviously won three championships. Considering everything you've been through to get back here and to feel this joy, how does it compare in terms of all-time greatest moments in basketball for you?
KLAY THOMPSON: It's up there, but it will be much sweeter if we complete the mission come next round.
It's definitely a moment I'm going to enjoy tonight with my family and my friends. They were there during the dog days. It was like a thousand calf raises a day. It was painful at times. I just saw this in sight and kept going. Just proud of not only my effort but our whole team. We really gelled this year at the right time.
We have exciting times ahead of us.
Q. We already had Steve in here, Jordan and Andrew, all three of those guys said basically the same thing: they feel such a deep appreciation and happiness for you. How does that make you feel to know that's how they feel.
KLAY THOMPSON: It means a lot. I gave Andrew a big hug, told him how grateful I am for him to be on our team. The job he did tonight can Luka, all series. Luka is one of the toughest guards in the NBA. Andrew showed his versatility in this series. I told him, wow, you make my job so much easier. I don't have to chase these guys around like I once did. We have a defender like you.
When it comes to Jordan, that's my rook. I remember a couple years ago would go through a shooting slump, he would be so hard on himself. Reminded me of my younger self. I just kept telling him, it's going to pay off, young fella, you're gonna play in the NBA Finals one day. I told him that on the bench, third game of the season when we were getting smacked. He was going through it as a 19-year-old rookie. Now for that to come to fruition, I mean, I'm so happy for those two.
When it comes to Steve, I mean, you saw his leadership the other night in Dallas. It would be hard to play for another coach. Steve is a leader of us. He's just an incredible visionary when it comes to thinking basketball. There's a reason he's been around so much winning his whole life, because he's just that type of person who just gravitates towards greatness.
I'm so grateful to play for a coach like Steve. He's a real player's coach. He's just an incredible person.
Q. It was almost 18 months ago to the day that you had your Achilles surgery. When you think about how far you've come, now you're at this moment, a sixth NBA Finals, where do your thoughts go? Did you dream about this?
KLAY THOMPSON: Oh, yeah, I dreamt about this like every day. You know, my thoughts definitely go to the surgery table. I'm very thankful for Dr. Ferkel and Dr. ElAttrache, the tedious rehab sessions. I got really in touch with music during those times because it would help me through a lot of those sessions.
Just my appreciation for moving my body again. I thought about that. I thought about those days I couldn't run or jump, how lucky we are to do what we do. Just to be here again wearing this shirt, wear this hat, I mean, like you said, I dreamt of this.
It's inspiring for myself to keep going.
Q. You got the behind-the-back pass from Draymond early in the third quarter. What is going through your mind when that ball coming to you, and what was your reaction when the ball went through?
KLAY THOMPSON: I've seen Draymond make that pass before actually. That's routine for us. He is one of the best I've ever seen at grabbing the ball off the rim and leading the break. For me and Steph, it's usual will you run to the three-point line, because we get a look. I was thinking, I better make this so it could be on the highlights before. It was all net. It was good to feel that crowd again.
Q. When you, Steph and Draymond are all healthy, you've reached six straight Finals together. You know your NBA history. How crazy is that to really wrap your mind around right now?
KLAY THOMPSON: It's unbelievable. We obviously had incredible help along the way. I mean, the years with KD, that was like the greatest team ever. Then now with the young bucks we got, they just really helped us feel more youthful again. We're still missing some really key players, so we got to get our guys Otto, GP and Andre healthy, too.
Give our front office a lot of credit too because they've filled in the extra slots with some real pros and some great players who have not only accepted their roles but excelled in them.
Q. You guys had your place in history already with five straight Finals. How is it sort of maybe shaping your legacy to get back, given what's happened the last couple years, not just your injury, but worst record in the league? You mentioned KD. A lot of people viewed what you guys accomplished differently when he joined. To get back without him, how does that affect the way you'll be remembered by history do you think?
KLAY THOMPSON: Well, first off, I don't think it's us and KD. When Kevin was here, we were like an unstoppable force. I think now we have to be more meticulous obviously with our offense, our defense, because we don't have as much leeway without him.
We're happy to be here, but it would help our legacy a lot if we completed the mission and won the whole thing. We can be happy tonight, and we will be, I'll celebrate tonight. But tomorrow when this Game 6 comes on, I'm turning the page and I'm scouting because we want to finish this thing off the right way and do it for Dub nation.
Q. You mentioned Gary, Andre and Otto. The fact that you still haven't had your full healthy team, what does that mean into the Finals?
KLAY THOMPSON: Strength in numbers. It's been our slogan. It's scary, I think, for our potential, how great we can really be. We are a deep team. Everyone knows how to play within the system, off each other.
I think if we're whole, we can win the championship.
Q. You're the first player in NBA history to have multiple games with eight threes in a series-clinching wins. We talk about Game 6, but what about series-clinching games?
KLAY THOMPSON: I'm satisfied with Game 6 Klay. I don't need another nickname (smiling). It's nice not having to bring him out yet. We still have another very hard series to play.
I've learned in this league you don't want to self-proclaim anything. You want to earn those nicknames. I'll let you guys write about that.
Q. When did you know on a team with you, Steph, Draymond, even Andre, when did you know that would be a special core you could build on?
KLAY THOMPSON: I would say as early as my second year in the NBA. We were so young, we took an experienced and dynastic San Antonio team to a hard-fought series. After that I was like, Gosh, we're going toe-to-toe with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. If we build on this, we could have a great future.
For us to acquire Andre that next summer. We went through some growing pains still in 2014. I could feel it. We were just in our early 20s.
Now thinking about the history we had, if you would have told me this my rookie year in 2011, I would have never believed you. I would have been like, I'm happy to be here, this is the NBA, I'm great. Now to go to my sixth Finals, I'm elated but I'm still hungry.
Q. You're a different player this time around. Draymond said he's better defensively because of the mental space he's in, he's smarter. What have you seen in Steph as he returns back to the Finals this time around? Is it going to be a different Steph from the previous Finals funs?
KLAY THOMPSON: I don't think so. I mean, Steph's done incredible things in the Finals. I'm pretty sure he leads the NBA Finals in three-pointers made. He always brings his best.
Like you harped on, Draymond's mental, same with Steph. He knows where to get his shots off, when to take over a game, how to lead this team. I think we're very seasoned at this point in our careers and we're ready for this challenge because whoever comes out of that eastern conference is going to push us.
Q. In the past when you've had a big game, you've shared with us details about how you might have cleared your head, including a famous dip in the Pacific Ocean. Did you do anything special today?
KLAY THOMPSON: I had a great breakfast. You know, I don't want to give away all my secrets. Before I even start my day, I get up, jump in my 65-degree pool to wake myself up. I'm so lucky to even have a pool.
I just play with Rocco. I play maybe some Nintendo. I just try not to watch basketball or basketball media. That's how I clear my mind, is just doing other things that occupy my time that are fun.
I have to keep this routine going for the next series.
Q. Draymond talked about how hard it is not only to play at this level but also to win at this level. What does it take to make it this far, to succeed at this level?
KLAY THOMPSON: It takes a special group from top to bottom, all the way from our owners in Peter and Joe, who aren't afraid to go out and get guys to help us win, to Bob, to our assistant GMs, our front office who scouts these players, our coaching staff who puts in the work to watch all the film, our training staff who is in the dungeon with us just getting us right.
Lastly the players. It takes a special group of talented young men to really put themselves and their agendas aside and do it as a whole, as a team, because, I mean, I always think about this John Wooden quote. He said, It's amazing what a team can do when nobody cares who gets the credit. I genuinely feel that way about our team.
Q. There were several low moments organizationally the last couple years. How has Steph's presence through that guided you guys?
KLAY THOMPSON: Yeah, I mean, he's just an incredible leader. I mean, the low moments make the high ones so much sweeter. That's what I've learned.
So as bad -- as much as you don't want those, you want to win every season, it's just hard to do. When you do have those low moments, you got to hold your chin up high and stick to your character because sports are tough. Injuries are part of them. It's like it's just different every year.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports