Klay Thompson’s Incredible Game 6 Performance Against OKC Was Dedicated To A Friend’s Dog

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The biggest game of Klay Thompson‘s life, as it turns out, was dedicated to a very good dog. The Golden State Warriors sharpshooter might be best known for his postseason heroics in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Down 3-2, Thompson led the Warriors with 41 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter, to complete a Golden State comeback and tie the series. That game and series as a whole gets lost for many because, though the Warriors won that game and the ensuing Game 7 to take the series, they fell to the Cavaliers in the Finals in historic fashion after blowing a 3-1 lead of their own.

As SLAM’s cover story about Thompson reveals, it wasn’t just some lucky socks that motivated him to have a big game in Game 6. A close friend’s dog dying apparently made him dedicate the game to “Tyson,” and the rest is history.

Tzvi Twersky’s piece starts by exploring that game and the emotions he was feeling as the NBA champions were on the bring as a way to better understand one of the most interesting shooters the NBA.

Earlier that week, 1,340 miles away in Orange County, CA, Philippe Zarif, a friend of Thompson’s from high school, suffered a loss. Zarif’s dog, a 13-year-old purebred boxer named Tyson who was the star of his owner’s Instagram account, died without warning. The loss cut Zarif deep, but he didn’t expect its impact to reverberate beyond his immediate family. That’s why he was so surprised when, on the morning of Game 6, Thompson texted him, “This one’s for Tyson.”

“Phil treated that dog like a son,” says Klay, who cares for Rocco, his own English bulldog, like a proud Pops. “I know loved ones come in different capacities, whether it’s human or animal, so he was really in my thoughts.”

“That Klay even reached out to me about it was epic,” remembers Zarif, owner of Mulch, an eco-friendly clothing line based on the West Coast. “It was the biggest game of the year, and he still was thinking about my loss. That’s Klay.”

It’s a cool piece that gives some insight into who Thompson is as a figure often obscured by the other superstars on the Warriors. And it will give Warriors fans something to keep them occupied as he works to get back on the court along with Golden State’s star-studded roster that has been ravaged by injuries of late.