Klay Thompson has played on just about every single big basketball stage imaginable, including the NBA Finals, the Olympics and the All-Star Game.
But a regular-season game in January will always hold a special place in his heart.
On the “Point Forward” podcast Friday with Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner, Thompson talked about his return to action this season in a Jan. 9 game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Chase Center, his first time in an NBA game in 941 days after suffering two separate injuries that kept him out since Game 6 of the 2019 Finals.
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“That was the most nervous I’ve been for a basketball game, I think ever,” Thompson said. “That was crazy, man. That game still gives me chills to this day because of the lead-up.”
Thompson’s return was one of the most highly-anticipated events of the NBA season, not just in the Bay Area but also around the country. The world watched as Thompson tore his ACL in 2019, and they kept following his journey through a torn Achilles the following year and a painstaking rehab process.
So the build-up for his comeback was massive, as expected.
“I’ll never forget the shootaround,” Thompson said. “Like I'm here, I finally see this.”
Golden State Warriors
In the pre-game huddle, Andrew Wiggins – who was traded to the Warriors midway through the 2019-2020 season but didn’t get to play with Thompson for two years – told him: “I can’t wait to play with you.”
“I was like, ‘Dang,’” Thompson said.
Thompson scored 17 points in the Warriors’ 96-82 win in his comeback game, including a memorable dunk. He would go on to average 20.4 points the rest of the season. He displayed some rust but finished strong with several key postseason performances to help the Warriors win the championship.
“Most memorable game of my career, to be honest,” Thompson said. “Shoutout to Dub Nation. The fans really showed so much love."