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OAKLAND, Calif. – The Golden State Warriors' 115-100 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Dec. 21, 2012, isn't revered in franchise history. But it is notable for one thing: It was the night Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson received their "Splash Brothers" nickname.
During the game, a writer for the Warriors website tweeted the nickname that has grown in popularity thanks to the play of the Warriors' All-Star guards.
"It's my claim to fame," Warriors.com writer Brian Witt said. "It's something no one way can take away. It's proof I lived on this earth that I created 'The Splash Brothers.' "
Curry and Thompson had combined for 25 points in that first half and made seven 3-pointers. Witt gave a quick intermission recap by tweeting out on the Warriors' handle:
The nickname was born and immediately caught the attention of Bay Area media and Warriors fans. Witt was playing off the old Oakland Athletics' nickname "Bash Brothers" for Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco.
"It's a pretty accurate term, I'd like to say," Curry said. "I don't think we've called each other that ever, but it's fun."
The Warriors also loved the nickname and pushed Witt to keep tweeting it out. Now, more than two years later, Curry and Thompson are often referred to as the "Splash Brothers" – and for good reason: They've combined to average just over 45 points per game this season. They are the Warriors' first All-Star duo since Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin in 1993 and the franchise's first pair of All-Star starters since Rick Barry and Nate Thurmond in 1967.
"They look like the perfect compliment for each other," said Hall of Famer Jerry West, a Warriors consultant. "For me, it's fun. One of them [Curry] plays the game with a lot more personality. The other one [Thompson] is a lot more workmanlike. They like each other, they know they're good for each other and they are a terrific backcourt."
Curry surpassed the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James as the NBA's leading vote getter to land a Western Conference starting guard spot. It will be Curry's second straight All-Star appearance, both as a starter. He is seventh in the NBA in scoring, averaging 23.6 points, and is considered an MVP candidate.
Thompson was voted as an All-Star reserve by the conference's coaches before being named an injury replacement starter by Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who also is coaching the West All-Star team. His NBA-record 37 points and nine made 3-pointers in one quarter en route to a career-high 52 points against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 23 helped Thompson's cause.
"Any time you have a game like that you take a step up," Curry said.
While the Splash Brothers share the same backcourt – and will compete against each other in Saturday's 3-point contest – they're different away from the court.
Curry is outgoing and is hosting an Under Armour private party with Oscar and Grammy winner Jamie Foxx during All-Star weekend. Curry also has an event endorsing the clothing company Express, which has a mammoth video billboard in New York's Times Square showing him modeling clothing and dribbling a ball.
"I'm learning a lot about the process off the court and how to manage it and when to say, 'No,' " Curry said. "I didn't know what that was like three years ago."
For Thompson, who is laid back, there is no All-Star commercial, hype or party.
When asked how his life has changed since scoring 37 in a quarter, Thompson said: "There has been a little bit of a difference on social media and some national coverage, but other than that, I still go out there and do what I do. Nothing has really changed."
Warriors teammate Draymond Green thinks Thompson would "rather float under the radar."
"I wouldn't say he's uncomfortable with [his celebrity]," Green said. "I just think he doesn't realize it. Klay will just go and walk down the street anywhere. It's like, 'Brah, you can't do that no more.' "
Curry and Thompson, Green said, have remained humble among their teammates.
"Who they are does a lot for the team chemistry," Green said. "When your two main guys, your two dogs, your two go-getters have attitudes like that, how can anyone else be selfish?"
The Warriors considered splitting up Curry and Thompson last offseason. The Warriors had conversations with the Minnesota Timberwolves about a blockbuster trade sending Thompson in exchange for Kevin Love. Curry told management his preference was to leave the backcourt intact.
"I gave my input on how good of a player Kevin Love is," Curry said. "There were obviously conversations. But there is something about continuity and letting Klay get to his full potential."
The Warriors opted not to make the trade and instead signed Thompson to a four-year, $70 million contact extension. The T'wolves eventually traded Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"If you can maintain continuity it's always good in any organization, in any business," Warriors general manager Bob Myers said. "We knew who [Thompson] was. We didn't raise him, but he was raised within our organization. You just like to believe in your own guys and bet on your own guys."