Klay Thompson is making his fifth consecutive All-Star appearance in his eighth NBA season, as the Warriors sharp-shooter has emerged as one of the league’s elite shooting guards.
This Warriors season hasn’t been as smooth as some of their recent championship seasons, but despite some rare internal tension and turmoil, they find themselves in familiar territory at the top of the West at the All-Star break. Like the team as a whole, Thompson got off to an uncharacteristically rocky start, but he too has rounded into form, entering the break averaging 21.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game on a 46.9/39.6/81.0 shooting split.
Thompson sat down with Uproxx in Charlotte at the Tissot Style Lounge to talk about this season, the DeMarcus Cousins addition keeping them focused in the regular season, why he expects to win another championship, his personal evolution on the court and off of it with regards to his style, and more.
You’ve been doing All-Star Weekend for a little while now. Do you have a routine down? How much has your All-Star Weekend changed from the first time?
Well, the first time I was doing every appearance I could do. But that was extremely exhausting and then by the fifth time, you know how to navigate the weekend much better. You know how to enjoy your downtime, enjoy the events and just soak it all in because it’s never guaranteed you’ll ever be back here before. And it’s truly an honor to be here with not only your best players in the NBA but some all time greats that have played this game and just, the NBA family.
Just in general, what have been your thoughts on the season so far for the Warriors and for you personally?
Oh, it’s been a great season. We established such a high standard of winning that sometimes, most of the fans, when we go through lows, bad stretches, it looks like we’re not focused or we’re not at the top of our game but that’s just basketball. We’ve had to deal with plenty of injuries. Had to deal with integrating new guys in our lineups. But sitting at the top of Western Conference, you can’t really complain, especially post All-Star break. You’ve got to be happy with the result so far.
Individually, you know, I got off to a rough shooting start but in my head I knew I was gonna bounce back. I’ve done too many great things in this league to just hang my head for a couple missed shots. So, luckily I did bounce back in some big ways and now I’m here and I’m happy to be an All-Star again. It’s truly an honor.
You mentioned integrating new pieces, obviously Boogie is the biggest one. Has that given y’all a little bit of an extra jolt and something to focus on during the regular season grind to help keep you focused?
Oh, no question. He has added such a new dimension to our team and I was able to play with him with Team USA and I knew he was a good teammate but I didn’t know he was this great of a teammate. He just wants to win and he’s so easy to play with. He’s such a smart player. He’s such a great passer. His ability to stretch the floor, his ability to pass. There’s literally not a weakness really in his game. Maybe his lateral movement but if you really wanna nitpick, but other than that, he is such a force for us and he’s gonna help us win a championship, I just know he is.
When you look back from at the beginning of your career to now, what are like the skills that you’re most proud of that you’ve added to your game to take you to the All-Star level?
Probably my two-way ability. You know, I think that’s why I’m here is the coaches recognize that I play both sides of the ball. My durability. Just playing every night, being there for my team. And so much has changed, man. My first time as a sophomore coming to All-Star Weekend, I never drew a crowd like this. So I’m very thankful to have fans that appreciate my skill. That does not go unnoticed. And it honestly motivates me to keep working and try and do this, you know, a few more times before it’s all said and done.
Off the court, how would you say that your style has evolved from when you came in the league?
Oh man. I hate looking at pictures of my outfits when I was a rookie but it’s funny. You just see the growth. And I mean, you get a little more money in your pocket so you’ve got a little more diversity in your wardrobe and you know, now at this point in my career, hard work really pays off. I’m able to partner with brands.
You can be selective in what you wanna work with and Tissot is a great brand. I never thought I’d be endorsed by a really cool watch company. Always been a fan of watches, you know, I collect them. I love a nice timepiece and you know, to be partnering with the official watch of the NBA means you’re doing something right. So, it’s a huge honor and hopefully a long-lasting partnership.