Klay fires back at critics discrediting post-injury achievements originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Klay Thompson never has been one to care about critics.
But after all the 32-year-old has been through to get back on the court, Thompson has taken a more outspoken approach to naysayers this season.
“Yeah, that’s true [of not caring in the past], but I feel like I deserve more credit for battling through all that injury s--t,” Thompson told Haynes after the Warriors’ loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.
“I helped a team win a championship last year, and people still want to discredit what you do.”
After tearing his right ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals then his left Achilles less than a year and a half later, Thompson made his triumphant return to the floor on Jan. 9, 2022, in a game affectionately referred to as “Klay Day.”
In the 32 games he played upon his return, Thompson didn’t miss a beat and averaged 20.4 points on 42.9-percent shooting from the field with 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
His efforts helped propel the Warriors to the 2022 NBA playoffs, where they ultimately won their fourth championship ring in eight seasons. Thompson averaged 19.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists across the 22-game postseason stretch en route to his fourth title.
Four rings in nine NBA seasons certainly is more than most players could ever hope to accomplish. But as Thompson’s 10th year in the league gets off to a slow start for him, many, including TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley, have questioned if the Splash Brother will be the same player ever again after his injuries.
Thompson publicly called out Barkley for those comments last month, saying he was hurt by the analyst's opinion that his play is "slipping." In 11 games during the 2022-23 NBA season so far, Thompson has averaged 14.7 points per game on 35.1-percent shooting from the field.
It’s clear that Thompson isn’t going to remain silent on what he considers unfair criticism, given all he accomplished from 2019 to 2022. After 941 days of being sidelined, his grueling comeback came complete with a Larry O’Brien Trophy.
And that’s something no one can take away.
Still, Thompson made it clear he has plenty to work on this season. But if there’s anyone who knows how to overcome adversity, it’s him.
“You know what I’ve learned about that? You just can’t please everybody,” Thompson told Haynes. “But for myself individually, it’s about rediscovering that form of efficiency and that two-way play that made me great.
“And I feel like I’m well on my way there.”