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June 1, 2022

Klay Thompson

Golden State Warriors

Media Day

Q. When you look at the Boston Celtics, I know Steve Kerr said earlier that just their makeup of the Celtics reminded them so much of how you guys came up and built. Do you see any comparisons between you guys early on, maybe 2015, 2014?

KLAY THOMPSON: Yeah, I think they are pretty much the age we were back then, in their mid 20s. You have to give that organization credit. I feel like Brown and Tatum and Smart have been there for ten years already. They worked hard to get here, just like we did. We respect them, and they present unique challenges to us. But it's just going to be a dogfight. We know how physical and athletic they are, and we expect a hard-fought series.

Q. After the last game, Steph talked about making you a prophet because you proclaimed championship or bust early on this season. What gave you the confidence to make that exclamation, and what does it take for you guys to continue to sustain the success, and get back here, six of the last eight years?

KLAY THOMPSON: Well, I made that observation because we started 18-2. That's an incredible start, and I wasn't even in the lineup yet. We weren't even whole. I envisioned us as all the pieces in the puzzle together, and I thought we could attain greatness.

So to be back for a sixth time, it's incredible. It's even incredible just saying that. I never really thought that was a possibility my rookie year, and it's just great. I'm just going to enjoy every second of this and play as hard as I can, and you can walk away with no regrets.

Q. You mentioned this team presents unique challenges. Does it present any challenges for you specifically? How do you see your role coming up in the series?

KLAY THOMPSON: Just doing what I always do. Hunt my shot. Playing hard defense. They have got obviously great offensive players, guys who have been scoring the ball at will. So kind of have to move my feet.

And then just be physical. I mean, been through a lot of battles at the highest level, so just got to rely on that experience and play with great fluidity.

Q. You're obviously in a different position than Steph and Draymond in terms of not being a father, and you were out of the league the last two years, but Draymond was talking about how he considers himself an old head now, and like Kuminga looks at him like he's 55. Do you consider yourself an old head?

KLAY THOMPSON: No. No. Although we've been doing this a long time, 32 is very young in the big picture of life. Just because our lives are out there in front of the camera, people see us grow up. So I think it's just -- I still feel very young, and I still think I have great years ahead of me.

But I mean, I think I have a lot of wisdom compared to where I was the first time we did this. So I can be an old head in that sense.

Q. You've had a lot of battles with the Celtics team over the years and it feels like that one constant is Marcus Smart, going back eight years now.


Q. What sticks out about him? He has a great reputation around the league, heart and soul, Defensive Player of the Year and all that stuff. Any particular memories stand out from playing the Celtics over the years?

KLAY THOMPSON: Yeah, I would say my rookie year, just playing that team of Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and KG. That was like a "welcome to the NBA" moment for me because just a couple years before, I was watching them battle Kobe and Pau in the Finals, and I was just mesmerized by how great those teams were, both the Lakers and the Celtics.

So life comes full circle, now being able to play them in the Finals. I was watching them in college, Game 7, at Staples, with my dad in 2010, and now it's 12 years later, and I get to play the team that I was rooting against. But it's amazing.

As far as Smart's game, you have to give the young man credit. He earned that DPOY. He improved his outside shooting, and he's just become a very good two-way player. Guys who get the most out of their ability, you have respect for, and he continues to do that.

Q. Your dad played for the Lakers, and you grew up a Laker fan. But before you were drafted by the Warriors, what did you know about the organization?

KLAY THOMPSON: I knew they were a fun 2K team. A lot of step-backs, a lot of high scoring.

I remember watching the "We Believe" team with Steph Jack and Matt and Baron. They were a gritty team of guys who might have been outcasts to other organizations, but created such a fun brand of basketball and did something only a few teams have ever done, upsetting a 1-seed.

I remember how crazy the fans were during that run and how great Bay Area basketball fans were. I grew up in a Laker household, so we didn't have many Warrior games on. But I always knew that basketball was just a beloved sport in the Bay. That's obvious, just the amount of talent that has come out of this area: Antonio Davis, Bill Russell, J-Kidd, GP, Damian Lillard. They have had so many players out of Oakland that for such a small city, you knew they live and breathe basketball up here.

Q. A lot of players, when you ask them about reflecting on their careers, they wait until their careers are over. But given everything you've been through in the time you've had off, does that change the way you approach -- reflecting on things that you go through over the course of the season, or are you back to how you were before the injuries? How do you view the reflection periods?

KLAY THOMPSON: That's a great question. I think I'm definitely more reflective now because, I mean, it can be taken away from you like that, one missed step or one bad jump.

You know, back in the day, just felt like work more. Just kind of programmed you to feel more robotic and just do your daily routines. But now I just try to find joy in every routine I do, whether that's the drive to the arena, being on the training table. It's such an awesome job to be an NBA player. I knew that before, but going through surgeries and rehab, putting a jersey on hits so much harder than it did back in the day.

Q. Most athletes are creatures of habit, and you talk about routine. Six Finals in eight years. Has your team changed at all when you get to this stage, or has it changed in the past or this time around?

KLAY THOMPSON: The team has definitely changed. I think it's changed every year.

Being here with Loon, Steph and Dray, Andre, though, feels great. But I'm also equally proud of our younger guys: Jordan Poole, Wiggs, Otto, GP, Nemanja -- he's not young. But we have such a great team from top to bottom.

And give our coaching staff a ton of credit as well. The system that's in place for us to get the most out of our ability is a testament to their knowledge of the game and just incredible. You don't get here six times in eight years without doing something right. But we have big goals. We want to finish it, complete the mission.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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