Why Klay's perfect Loon nickname ‘means a lot' to Dubs big man


When Klay Thompson gives you a nickname, it’s almost a guarantee it will stick. 

Thompson dubbed Warriors center Kevon Looney the perfect moniker last season after Loon’s historic 22-rebound performance in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Memphis Grizzlies. 

"Kevon Looajuwon."

And several months later, the nickname still brings a big smile to Looney’s face

“That means a lot, especially hearing it from Klay,” Looney told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors insider Monte Poole in September. “He’s somebody who knows what I’ve been through. He kind of had that same journey; we had to miss the game of basketball. So he knows how hard it is to get back to that point."

The nickname, of course, comes from NBA Hall of Famer and former Houston Rockets 12-time All-Star Hakeem Olajuwon.

The 7-footer led the league in rebounding twice in 1989 and 1990 and blocks three times in 1990, 1991 and 1993. He retired in 2002 as the league's all-time leader in blocks (3,830) and averaged 21.8 points on 51 percent shooting, 11.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3.1 blocks in 1,238 games over his career. 

“For [Thompson] to get back to that point and give me that praise and compare me to somebody like that, it’s cool," Looney said. "Dream is a Hall of Famer, one of the top 10 greatest players ever but for me to just have moments and get a nickname like that is just awesome.

"Klay’s a different type of guy, and for him to come up with that, it’s cool.” 

While Thompson and Looney have grown close through their highs and lows with the Warriors, Looney still has his doubts about hopping on Thompson's boat to cruise the Bay with Captain Klay. 

That mostly comes from Looney's fear of the ocean, but he isn't crossing it off his bucket list just yet. 

"I’m trying to get ready. Klay keeps telling me I have to get out there with him," Looney said. "So I’m trying to over it because I still don’t know if I’m ready yet. Klay was over there dancing like Michael Jackson on the boat. I don’t know if I’m ready to do that yet."

After winning his third NBA championship, Looney did get on a boat this summer, after his girlfriend convinced him. 

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"It was cool, it was decent. I don’t know if I’m gonna do it again," Looney said, laughing. "I just like being on land, man. I don’t like being in the water like that. I’m from Milwaukee. Maybe a lake, but not the ocean, man. It’s too much." 

But as a captain on the court, Looney has good reason to trust Thompson as a captain of the sea. 

"Klay never steered me wrong," Looney said. "So one day I’m gonna get on the boat with him. We just won a championship so why not? One time. Just once." 

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